WILMINGTON, Del. – Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released a video message to Delawareans about his concerns with holding confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, nominated for a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, despite a recent outbreak of COVID-19 among SJC members.
"I am working very hard today with my legal team to prepare for what Chairman Lindsey Graham says will be confirmation hearings next week for Judge Barrett who's been nominated to fill the Supreme Court vacancy caused by the untimely passing of Justice Ginsburg.
"As I've been reading through Judge Barrett's law review opinions, her legal opinions, her speeches, and her written record, I have one overwhelming question, which is, why are we proceeding at all? We have three U.S. senators who are infected with the COVID-19 disease. We have a spreading pandemic that continues to infect thousands and thousands of Americans every week – more than 7 million who have been infected to date and a COVID-19 outbreak in the White House.
"I have joined all the Democrats on Judiciary, writing Majority Leader McConnell and Chairman Graham, urging them not to proceed. We have suspended Senate votes this week. If it is not safe enough for us to go to the Senate to cast votes, it's not safe enough for us to proceed with a confirmation hearing for Judge Barrett.
"We are now just 29 days from the election. Millions of Americans have already voted in 27 states. We have never had the Supreme Court nomination of a justice considered by the Senate this close to an election – in our history.
"I don't think we should be proceeding and neither do you; I've heard from thousands of Delawareans, who've called or emailed or messaged my office, expressing their opposition to moving forward. Despite that, I am convinced that the Republican majority will demand that we move ahead, and we cannot block them by the rules of the committee. Just one member is required to be present for there to be a quorum.
"So, I likely will be questioning Judge Barrett next week, but during the proceeding, my first question will be, why are we doing this at all?"