10.09.20

Leahy, Booker, Harris Press Chairman Graham Not To Conduct Supreme Court Hearings Without COVID-19 Testing Procedures In Place

. . . Warn That Hearings Could Otherwise Become Virus Super-Spreader

(FRIDAY, Oct. 9, 2020) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) Friday pressed Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) not to proceed with Supreme Court confirmation hearings next week unless stringent COVID-19 testing procedures are implemented immediately.  Pointing out that two Judiciary Committee members have tested positive for COVID-19 and others have thus far refused to be tested, the senators told Graham that without testing procedures in place, the hearings could threaten the safety and health of all who attend in person.

The senators wrote:  “In the wake of news that Senators Lee and Tillis tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the White House event announcing Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Judiciary Committee Democrats asked that you postpone her confirmation hearings to ensure that we don’t risk the health and safety of fellow Senators, Senate staff, other Senate employees, as well as Judge Barrett and her family.  To date, we understand that you plan to proceed with these hearings on October 12, 2020, despite the serious risks they present.  We urge you against unsafely moving forward with these hearings while no clear testing regime is in place to ensure that they do not become another super-spreader of this deadly virus.”

The senators continued:  “Without these precautionary measures in place, Senators, Senate staff, press, Judge Barrett and her family will face a serious, unnecessary risk of contracting COVID-19.  We also have a moral responsibility to protect the workers who make it possible for us to do our jobs in the Senate each and every day. Absent these protocols, you are ignoring CDC best practices and may force Senators to participate in this hearing remotely which, for such a consequential hearing, would be entirely unprecedented. As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, your first and foremost obligation is to ensure the safety and well-being of Committee members and staff.  We urge you to honor that obligation in the days ahead.”

Full text of the letter can be found here.

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