Cotton says infected GOP senators would break quarantine to confirm SCOTUS
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton recalled the 'venerable tradition of ill or medically infirm senators being wheeled in' to cast votes.
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton has suggested that his Republican colleagues who have tested positive for COVID-19 could break quarantine to vote in person to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
“First off, I think every senator who has currently tested positive or is in isolation will be back to work under normal conditions,” Cotton told Fox host Maria Bartiromo.
“But if that’s not the case, Maria, there is a long and venerable tradition of ill or medically infirm senators being wheeled in to cast critical votes on the Senate floor,” he added.
To confirm Barrett, Republicans would need all 53 of their members to vote affirmatively. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have both stated that they would prefer not to vote on the nominee until after the election.
There are currently three Republican senators who have tested positive for the virus and are in quarantine. Two of them, Utah’s Mike Lee and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, are on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Hearings on Barrett’s nomination are expected to begin next Monday, Oct. 12, with her nomination being sent to the full Senate by Oct. 22. Top Republicans are aiming to confirm her by Oct. 26, eight days before the fall presidential election.
Democrats have called for the Senate to delay the nomination amid the positive test results by the president and members of Congress.
“It’s critical that Chairman Graham put the health of senators, the nominee and staff first — and ensure a full and fair hearing that is not rushed, not truncated and not virtual,” Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said in a joint statement. “Otherwise this already illegitimate process will become a dangerous one.”
The Atlantic writer Edward-Isaac Dovere tweeted an excerpt of a letter from the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee: “To proceed at this juncture with a hearing to consider Judge Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court threatens the health and safety of all those who are called upon to do the work of this body.”