Kamala Harris says it's 'reckless' to hold Supreme Court hearings during a pandemic

Sen. Kamala Harris calls in to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court.ALEX EDELMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
  • Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California focused her opening remarks during Monday's Supreme Court hearing on the coronavirus pandemic, calling it "reckless" to hold such an event in person.
  • Harris, who was speaking remotely from her office on Capitol Hill, said, "This hearing has brought together more than 50 people to sit inside of a closed-door room for hours, while our nation is facing a deadly airborne virus."
  • "This committee has ignored common-sense requests to keep people safe," Harris said, adding, "This hearing should have been postponed."
  • The Democratic vice-presidential nominee also called out Republicans for pushing ahead with the hearing after Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Rose Garden celebration at the White House was linked to 35 cases.

Sen. Kamala Harris called it "reckless" to hold a committee hearing in person for a vacant Supreme Court seat in the middle of a pandemic and said the confirmation proceedings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett "should have been postponed."

"The decision to hold this hearing now is reckless and places facilities workers, janitorial staff, and Congressional aides and Capitol Police at risk," the 2020 Democratic vice-presidential nominee said, joining the hearing via video.

At least one lawmaker who recently tested positive for COVID-19, GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, attended Monday's hearing in person. Lee was diagnosed not long after the White House held what has been characterized as a superspreader event to announce Barrett's nomination to the nation's highest court. So far, at least 35 people — including President Donald Trump — have tested positive for COVID-19 in the White House outbreak. Advertisement

Harris also slammed Republicans, saying they are prioritizing pushing through Barrett's confirmation over a coronavirus stimulus package.

"Senate Republicans have made it crystal clear that rushing a Supreme Court nomination is more important than helping and supporting the American people who are suffering from a deadly pandemic and a devastating economic crisis," Harris said.

The California Democrat said Republicans wanted to confirm Barrett as fast as possible to assure the downfall of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The Supreme Court is set to hear a challenge to the Obama administration's landmark legislative achievement after Election Day.
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"Republicans finally realized that the Affordable Care Act is too popular to repeal in Congress. So now they are planning to bypass the will of the voters and have the Supreme Court do their dirty work," Harris said.

Harris said Republicans were "deliberately defying the will of the people," citing polling in which a majority of American respondents said the recently vacated Supreme Court seat should remain empty until after the election.
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