Senate Judiciary Committee head Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) announced on Monday a schedule for hearings for President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court.
Republicans are attempting to confirm the nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, before the presidential election on November 3. The successful nomination of Barrett would give the Supreme Court a 6-3 majority of conservative justices.
The Judiciary Committee hearings will take place from 9 a.m. on Monday, October 12, and continue through Thursday, October 15, according to a statement from Graham’s office.
While Republicans have been working to confirm Barrett as speedily as possible, the schedule for the confirmation process was put in doubt over the weekend after a number of officials in President Trump’s inner circle tested positive for coronavirus. Among those who contracted the illness are Senators Mike Lee (R., Utah) and Thom Tillis (R., N.C.), both of whom sit on the Judiciary Committee.
Lee is “getting better every day” after experiencing allergy-like symptoms, a spokesman told Deseret News on Monday. Tillis temporarily lost his senses of taste and smell, but a spokesman told Spectrum News that the senator has since regained those senses and is currently asymptomatic.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and ranking Judiciary Committee member Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) called for hearings to be delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak among Republican officials.
“It is premature for Chairman Graham to commit to a hearing schedule when we do not know the full extent of potential exposure stemming from the president’s infection and before the White House puts in place a contact tracing plan to prevent further spread of the disease,” the two said in a statement on Friday.
However, Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wis.), who tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday, has vowed to appear in person for Barrett’s Senate-wide confirmation vote. Judiciary Committee hearings could be held “electronically,” Johnson said, but a Senate confirmation vote would have to be held in person.
“There’s no reason we can’t confirm Judge Barrett,” Johnson said Monday on the Ross Kaminsky Show. “If we have to go in and vote, I’ve already told leadership I’ll go in a moon suit.”