U.S. Senate set to confirm Barret despite calls for Pence to skip over COVID-19 risk
|globalnews.ca 26 Oct 2020 at 10:27|
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A deeply torn Senate is set to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, but Democratic leaders are asking Vice-President Mike Pence to stay away from presiding over Monday’s session due to potential health risks after his aides tested positive for COVID-19 .
Barrett’s confirmation is not in doubt, as Senate Republicans are overpowering Democratic opposition to secure President Donald Trump’s nominee the week before Election Day. Pence has not said if he plans to attend as is customary for landmark votes.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and his leadership team wrote that not only would Pence’s presence violate Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, “it also be a violation of common decency and courtesy.”
Under the Constitution, the vice-president serves as the largely ceremonial role of Senate president and can break a tie vote. Pence’s vote isn’t expected to be needed. Senate Republicans control the chamber and steered their majority to seize the opportunity to install a third Trump justice, securing a conservative court majority for the foreseeable future.
“Nothing about your presence in the Senate tomorrow can be considered essential,” the Democrats wrote. They warned of the risk not just to senators but the police, restaurant workers and others who keep the Capitol running.
The 48-year-old appellate judge’s rise opens up a potential new era of rulings on abortion, gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act. A case against the Obama-era health law is scheduled to be heard Nov. 10.
“This is something to be really proud of and feel good about,” the Republican leader said Sunday during a rare weekend session.