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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Democrats will say just about anything to delay Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s lifetime appointment to a seat on the United States Supreme Court. They’re so afraid she’ll provide the critical vote that undoes their agenda they don’t care what reason they give to stop it.

The newest pitch of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, is to push off the start of her confirmation hearings now that two Senate Judiciary Committee members have tested positive for COVID-19.


That’s supposed to be a compelling reason for bringing a halt to the confirmation process. What Mr. Schumer really wants — and he’s as much doing the bidding here of the entire progressive coalition as he is trying to forestall a primary challenge two years hence from AOC — is for things to take so long the nomination dies.

He’s counting on President Trump to lose the election and take the Republican-controlled Senate down with him. Then, in conjunction with a handful of newly-defeated Republicans, force a rejection of her nomination. Then, an election having already occurred, he can use Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s arguments from four years ago to keep the seat vacant until the new president can fill it.

Mr. Schumer is deliberately ignoring how Senate committees have held virtual hearings for much of the year. There’s no need for the across-the-table, back and forth he called for Sunday; in fact, there’s no need for the committee to meet at all. Mr. McConnell can bypass it entirely and bring the nomination straight to the floor. But hearings are normally held and the GOP shouldn’t break with the norms this close to the election.

The way around the initial absence of Sens. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, and Tom Tillis, North Carolina Republican, both in quarantine because of the coronavirus, is for them to declare at the start they’ll be voting to send the Coney Barrett nomination to the full Senate for its consideration.

They can do this precisely because the full Senate, Mr. Lee and Mr. Tillis included, advised and consented to her being placed on the federal bench within the last couple of years. If she was qualified then, then she’s qualified now — at least as far as her nomination being brought to the floor goes.

For good measure, they could add something about the need for the high court to have a full complement of justices before it begins addressing the issues the 2020 election is almost certain to create. They wouldn’t be wrong.


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