Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on Republicans to delay U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings until after the election.
In a Sunday Fox News interview, Klobuchar said the COVID-19 diagnoses of three Republican senators makes it unsafe to proceed with Barrett’s confirmation.
“It’s not a matter of using it, Chris, it happened,” Klobuchar said. “We’ve got the fact that now three senators have it, as you point out two are on the Judiciary Committee. And Mitch McConnell has shut the Senate down for two weeks because of health concerns.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did delay all Senate floor activity until after Oct. 19, but said the work of Senate committees will continue as each committee sees fit.
“The Senate Judiciary Committee will convene on Oct. 12 as Chairman Graham has scheduled to begin confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The Senate’s floor schedule will not interrupt the thorough, fair, and historically supported confirmation process previously laid out by Chairman Graham,” McConnell said in a statement released Saturday.
He also said the Judiciary Committee has “operated flawlessly through a hybrid method that has seen some senators appear physically at its hearings while other members have participated virtually.”
“The Committee has utilized this format successfully for many months while protecting the health and safety of all involved. Certainly all Republican members of the committee will participate in these important hearings,” he added.
Three Republican senators — Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. Both Tillis and Lee serve on the Judiciary Committee.
During the Sunday interview, Fox News host Chris Wallace noted that the Barrett hearings could be held virtually, a safety precaution Klobuchar praised Republicans for taking earlier this year.
“This is for the highest court in the land. Yes, we have had virtual hearings. I helped to put them together. It’s important to give senators that option, but you want to be able to go back and forth with this nominee given her views on the Affordable Care Act, given that she has clearly criticized Justice Roberts … for upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, which allows people to keep their insurance when they’ve got preexisting conditions,” Klobuchar replied.
Wallace then pointed out that he and Klobuchar were conducting their interview virtually.
“Again, we believe you should have an in-person hearing. That doesn’t mean the virtual option wouldn’t be available,” she said.
“Why would we be doing this instead of actually helping the American people?” Klobuchar added. “Wait until after the election. Better for safety, better for the country.”