The Senate Republicans’ tight timeline to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court got even narrower Saturday, as COVID-19 spread to their chamber.
With three GOP senators in isolation for at least 10 days after testing positive for coronavirus, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s 53-member caucus may lack the votes needed to seat Barrett with a pre-Election Day floor vote if the illness continues to spread — or if the ill senators do not recover in time.
And while Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Friday that hearings on Barrett’s nomination, set to begin Oct. 12, will go forward by video, the committee’s Oct. 15 debate could be stalled by the sidelined senators’ absence.
Two of the committee’s 12 GOP members — Utah’s Mike Lee and North Carolina’s Thom Tillis — tested positive for coronavirus on Friday. Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, not a member of the panel, tested positive Saturday.
Lee intends to return to work next Monday, just in time for the hearing’s first day, Graham tweeted Friday.
“The Majority Leader and Chairman Graham have said full steam ahead,” Carrie Severino, president of the Judicial Crisis Network, told The Post.
“One hundred percent, this impacts nothing,” insisted a GOP Judiciary Committee insider. “This is going to happen before the election. The schedule has not changed at all, and it will not change based on what we know now.”
But Democrats have a chance to stymie the process Oct. 15, when the committee is set to debate Barrett’s qualifications and hold a markup session, or on Oct. 22, when Graham intends to put her nomination to a vote.