During Monday’s opening confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who President Donald Trump has nominated to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) vehemently defended his refusal to get tested for the Coronavirus despite the virus’s recent spread among top Republicans. He suggested that his colleagues who’ve called for him to get tested (again) for the Coronavirus have been using the issue as some kind of politicized cudgel against the operations of the Senate, which is, quite simply, ridiculous. There’s simply a plea to abide by common sense precautions to help stop the spread of a deadly virus.
According to Graham, the last time that he was tested was a little more than a week ago. He insisted:
‘I made a decision to try to make the room as safe as possible but to come to work. Millions of Americans are going to work today. Somebody may have tested positive in a restaurant, a military unit, a fire department, or a police department. You make it as safe as possible, you manage the risk — and you go to work. I’m not going to be told to be tested by political opponents. I’m going to be tested as an individual when the CDC requires it. I think we can safely conduct this hearing… you can’t demand not to show up to work unless everybody you may come in contact with is tested whether they need to or not, and we’re not going to do that here.’
Watch his comments below:
Sen. Lindsey Graham: "There's no requirement to test me. I feel fine… I'm not going to be told to be tested by political opponents." pic.twitter.com/Nea8n9HjPK
— The Hill (@thehill) October 12, 2020
Again — the point is not some kind of conspiracy against Graham. He sounds startlingly petty. The point is to help keep a deadly virus from spreading even further through the top rungs of government. Graham is willfully ignoring this serious concern, and he’s also ignoring the fact that maybe — just maybe! — procedures in the halls of the Senate should not be patterned after thin and frequently nonexistent worker protections from across the economy that themselves need some serious updating anyway.
At the hearing, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) — who’s a member of the committee and the Democratic vice presidential nominee — lambasted Graham and their fellow Senate Republicans for their decision to move forward with the Barrett hearings. She called the process “illegitimate,” and she insisted:
‘Every American must understand that with this nomination, equal justice under law is at stake. Our voting rights are at stake. Workers’ rights are at stake. Consumers’ rights are at stake. The right to safe and legal abortion is at stake. And holding corporations accountable is at stake. And, again, there is so much more.’
Harris: "Our voting rights are at stake. Workers' rights are at stake. Consumers' rights are at stake. The right to safe and legal abortion is at stake. And holding corporations accountable is at stake. And, again, there is so much more." https://t.co/pmqO9krV2S
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 12, 2020
The Barrett confirmation process is moving forward despite Senate Republicans’ own past refusal to confirm a U.S. Supreme Court nominee in 2016, citing the imminent presidential election as an excuse. This time, they claim, circumstances are sufficiently different to warrant moving forward because the Senate and White House are controlled by the same political party.
Rising star Jaime Harrison has a message that is clearly resonating with the people of South Carolina and beyond. Let's do what we can to get him in the Senate. https://t.co/XlqFC5r1KT
— MoveOn (text POWER to 668366) (@MoveOn) October 12, 2020
On Monday, Graham contested the idea that moving forward is unconstitutional — but that’s not the point. Every possible political issue isn’t succinctly covered in the Constitution. A point of Democratic opposition is that Republicans are rushing to confirm Barrett without hearing from the American people via the imminent election results.