Schumer Demands SCOTUS Hearings are ‘Postponed'
'There is no reason on God’s green earth why these shouldn’t be delayed'
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has demanded that the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett be delayed, this time citing safety reasons.
Schumer said during a press conference on Sunday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “seems to be jamming through” the upcoming hearings despite GOP senators testing positive for COVID-19.
“It makes no sense,” said Schumer.
“If it’s not safe for the Senate to meet in session, it’s not safe for the hearings to go forward.”
“For Mitch McConnell to go ahead with the hearing endangers the safety not only of senators, but of staff who work diligently on the Hill, and they ought to be delayed," he said.
"There is no reason on God’s green earth why these shouldn’t be delayed other than an effort to rush a witness through in an inadequate hearing where people can’t even see the witness face to face,” added Schumer.
“So we are demanding today, along with millions of Americans and many, many groups, that the hearings be postponed.”
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said that those senators who wished to participate in the confirmation hearings virtually are permitted to.
McConnell also expressed the virtual option to The New York Times.
McConnell praised the judiciary committee in a statement for operating “flawlessly” on the virtual-hybrid model with previous business.
He stated that over the past several months, the format has been successful.
Senate floor proceedings will be postponed until October 19th. The @SenJudiciary confirmation hearings for Judge Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court will convene on October 12th as scheduled by Chairman Graham. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/7ThKZPJBZG— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) October 3, 2020
But Schumer dismissed the idea, saying it “makes no sense” because of the lifetime appointment status of Supreme Court justices.
“A virtual hearing is virtually no hearing at all," Schumer said.
"You need to be with the witness, and have direct cross-questions and back and forth with them,” he added.
Senate Democrats have been scrambling to find a way to prevent the hearings from taking place until after the election.
Schumer tweeted just hours after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death:
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 18, 2020
Before President Donald Trump formally announced Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Schumer held a press conference with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, calling on Republican senators to respect the late justice’s dying wish by not filling her old seat until a new president takes the oath of office.
But that didn't work.
Schumer and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-NY) later said the hearings should be delayed in light of Trump’s positive coronavirus test due to the lack of contact tracing information.
Feinstein even tried to stall the hearings with a letter signed by the Judiciary Committee Democrats saying the hearing was cutting it too close to the election.