Could the Coronavirus Stop Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court Confirmation? - 2020-10-05
Ten days ago, Amy Coney Barrett's path to the Supreme Court seemed almost as rosy as the famous White House garden in which President Donald Trump nominated her. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seemed sure that he had the votes necessary to get her confirmed, regardless of the looming November 3rd election.
But, in a plot twist that would likely be rejected in Hollywood as too contrived to be believable, the White House ceremony, on September 26th, in which Trump announced Barrett's nomination may have spread the coronavirus to enough Republican senators to imperil her confirmation. Some hundred and fifty people attended the festive outdoor ceremony, including five members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Virtually all of them ignored the Trump Administration's own public-health guidelines by sitting shoulder to shoulder and, for the most part, without masks. Many of the guests also mingled inside the White House, again without masks.
A week later, the President had been hospitalized with COVID-19, which had also infected the First Lady, several top White House advisers, and, more crucially for Barrett's confirmation vote, two Republican Senators who are members of the Judiciary Committee: Thom Tillis, of North Carolina, and Mike Lee, of Utah. (Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican of Wisconsin, also tested positive for the coronavirus last week, but he is not a member of the Judiciary Committee.) Two other Republican Judiciary Committee members—Ben Sasse, of Nebraska, and Ted Cruz, of Texas—said that they had tested negative but, on medical advice, were self-quarantining.