The Republican senator dismissed concerns about senators ill with the coronavirus and says that the hearings “are going to happen next week.”
In a push to accelerate the confirmation process of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio compared his colleagues to essential workers—such as doctors, nurses, firefighters, grocery cashiers, custodians, farmworkers and bus drivers.
“We have a job to do—an essential job for the country—because we can’t pass laws and we can’t confirm Supreme Court nominees if the Senate doesn’t meet,” Rubio said Tuesday on Fox and Friends, where he chastised Democrats for calling to slow down the Barrett confirmation due to concerns about COVID-19 positive senators.
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Utah Sen. Mike Lee and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, who both sit on the judiciary panel, tested positive for COVID-19. Without Lee and Tillis’ votes, Barrett’s committee approval could be in jeopardy.
During the conservative network’s morning show, Rubio called out Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who had criticized Republicans for pushing US senate members who are ill with coronavirus to vote in an effort to rush Barrett’s confirmation to the lifetime appointment.
“So, if I follow his argument, what he’s basically saying is we need to close down the fire department because there are firefighters that have COVID. Let’s close down the police departments, let’s close down the grocery stores, let’s close down the medical centers. I mean, every workplace in America is facing a COVID challenge,” Rubio said, adding that the “hearings are going to happen next week.”
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The Rush to Vote
The Supreme Court is made up of nine justices, which ensures that every case will always have a deciding vote. It is not uncommon for contentious cases to be split 5-4, with one justice deciding the case. After the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court was split between five conservative jurists and three liberal justices. The appointment of Barrett, a federal judge and devout Catholic who has said that a “legal career is but a means to an end . . . and that end is building the Kingdom of God,” would tip the balance to the conservative side.
Republicans are keen on voting before the election to ensure Barrett is securely ensconced as the ninth Justice, even if the presidential election doesn’t go their way.
“Members can [vote] virtually so they can protect themselves. There will be a vote, and then it will come to the floor and there will be a vote. We have a job to do. We need to do it as safely as possible and take every precaution possible. But we have a job to do,” Rubio said.