Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has officially scheduled the hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, to begin on Oct. 12.
According to Graham’s order, the hearings on Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Oct. 12, and will continue through to Oct. 15. This has not departed from the timeline he announced in late September.
The committee hearings will conclude with a vote to recommend Barrett’s confirmation to the full Senate where Republicans hold a 53-47 majority. Graham previously expressed confidence that Republicans would confirm the president’s next Supreme Court nominee.
Graham announced on Twitter on Monday that Trump is “very excited” about Barrett being confirmed to the Supreme Court.
Barrett, who has tested negative for COVID-19, is expected to testify in person, reported The Hill.
The official scheduling of the hearings come as two Republican senators of the Senate Judiciary Committee tested positive for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) announced on Oct. 2 that they tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus.
It also comes as three other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary panel are going into quarantine—Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced on Oct. 3 that the full Senate would return on Oct. 19—two weeks later than the original plan. But he said that the Senate will proceed with hearings for the nomination of Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Oct. 4 called for the Supreme Court nomination hearings to be postponed in light of recent COVID-19 diagnoses among the Senate Judiciary panel members. A statement from his office said that it is “too dangerous to have the Senate in session and for SCOTUS committee hearings to continue.”
“The president’s own coronavirus infection, spread to the Senate, as well as a deficient contact tracing process must serve as a reality check for Leader McConnell to once-and-for-all prioritize public health and science over politics,” Schumer said in a statement.
He added, “rushing Amy Coney Barrett’s hearing forward in the midst of a COVID outbreak in the White House and Senate would turn an illegitimate process into a reckless and dangerous one.”
“At the same time, there has been bipartisan agreement that remote hearings for lifetime appointments to higher federal courts is absolutely insufficient to allow for the necessary meaningful and thorough review of nominees and it should go without saying that this is doubly true for a nominee to the Supreme Court,” Schumer said.
Graham, who tested negative for COVID-19 last week, said he was looking forward to the hearings going ahead and that: “Any senator who wants to participate virtually will be allowed to do so” in light of the recent COVID-19 infections on Capitol Hill.
Schumer said in a statement on Monday that if the nomination process goes ahead, “there should be mandatory testing every day of the hearing.”
Trump announced the nomination of Barrett to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on Sept. 26, to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18 from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer.
If confirmed, Barrett will join Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—Trump’s two other appointments—to form a 6-3 majority of Supreme Court justices who were appointed by Republican presidents.
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.