With news that two GOP Senators on the Judiciary Committee have contracted COVID, the calls to postpone the hearings and a vote have started. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has become a bit of a ghost since getting passed over for VP, made such a request last night.
Two Senate Judiciary Committee members tested positive for COVID-19 today. We don’t know when we’ll know just how many people have been infected. The Senate cannot safely proceed on the Supreme Court nomination. We must focus on containing this virus to protect members and staff.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) October 3, 2020
CNN’s Manu Raju is also pushing this narrative that things can’t progress because of the current infections.
Ron Johnson, the third GOP senator to test positive. If the three – Tillis, Johnson and Lee – remain out this month, it would effectively prevent Barrett from being confirmed until they return, which could be a lame-duck session. (Collins and Murkowski are expected no votes) pic.twitter.com/4bMHc3X81y
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 3, 2020
So is that true? Can the Senate not proceed with the nomination if these people can’t appear in person for hearings and for a vote?
Ironically, or not so ironically if you’ve been paying attention to the shortsightedness of Democrats over the years, it may be Nancy Pelosi who ensures that Amy Coney Barrett does end up getting confirmed.
Why? Because it was Pelosi who insisted on setting the precedent within Congress that it was acceptable for members to not only conduct business remotely, but even vote remotely via proxy. That means there are no actual barriers to Mitch McConnell to get a vote done, even if some members can’t be there in person to do it. Does anyone really think McConnell won’t use that tool he’s been handed to make sure this gets done before the election?
CNN flacks like Manu Raju know this to be the case but are choosing to put a different perception out there. In reality, there is no reason whatsoever to postpone Barrett’s hearings. Everyone can remote in if need be. By the time we get to a confirmation vote, there may be no infections at all in the Senate. That’s almost a month away. If there are, McConnell can simply cite the Pelosi precedent and allow proxy voting. Either way, Barrett gets confirmed before November 3rd.
You’d think Democrats would learn to actually game so of this stuff out before making rash decisions that end up coming back to bite them? But nope, they keep doing this over and over. Now, thanks to Pelosi’s lack of foresight, Barrett is almost guaranteed to be confirmed. Someone should send her a thank you card.
(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)