Graham dismisses calls to delay Barrett confirmation hearings

Greg Nash

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday dismissed calls from fellow senators to delay Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings, saying the lawmakers will “go to work safely” on Monday.

Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo asked Graham on “Sunday Morning Futures” about some senators requesting to postpone the hearing after two GOP members of the panel tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month. 

“Well, we’re going to do what every American has to do come Monday – go to work safely,” Graham answered. 

Graham scheduled Barrett’s confirmation hearings to start on Monday as Republicans have committed to moving forward with the judge’s confirmation ahead of the election.

The South Carolina Republican, who is in a close race for reelection, said the coronavirus threat is “real” and he takes it “seriously.” He said the architect of the Capitol and the physician for the House and the Senate will set up the hearing room to ensure it follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. 

Graham said he was tested for the virus last week and “there’s no reason for me to be tested.”

“Anybody that has a concern about showing up can virtually interview Judge Barrett,” he said. “She will be there. I will be there.”

“And, to my Democratic colleagues, America has to go to work Monday including us,” Graham added. “We’re going to work. We’re going to work safely. If you don’t want to come to the committee hearing, you can interview the judge virtually.”

Questions arose over whether Barrett’s confirmation hearings would continue as planned when Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, shortly after President Trump announced he had contracted the virus. 

Two other Republican members Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Ben Sasse (Neb.) isolated themselves after contact with the other senators, but both said they expected to be back for Barrett’s hearings.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also dismissed requests last week to delay the hearings. 

“That’s the plan and there’s nothing I can see that would keep that from happening,” he said in an interview on Fox News.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said last week that Graham should mandate testing for senators or staff if the hearing continues as scheduled. 

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), the Democratic vice presidential candidate announced through a spokesperson on Sunday that she will participate in the hearings virtually.

Tags Amy Coney Barrett Barrett confirmation Barrett confirmation hearing Ben Sasse Charles Schumer Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Lindsey Graham Maria Bartiromo Mike Lee Mitch McConnell Pandemic Sunday shows Supreme Court Supreme Court confirmation Supreme Court nomination Ted Cruz Thom Tillis

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