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Harris to attend Barrett confirmation hearings remotely

California Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, plans to attend the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett virtually this week.

She says that Senate Republicans are “endangering” lives by moving forward with the hearings after several senators recently contracted COVID-19.

“By moving forward with Supreme Court confirmation hearings tomorrow — less than 2 weeks after members tested positive — Chairman Graham and Senate Republicans are endangering the lives of not just members and our staff, but the hardworking people who keep the Senate complete running,” Harris tweeted Sunday.

Harris joined Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (D) in asking Graham to put testing procedures in place for the hearings. The senators say their request was denied.

“Every member on the Senate Judiciary Committee must be tested for COVID-19 before the Supreme Court confirmation hearings start on Monday,” Harris also tweeted.

Graham rejected the notion that he was endangering lives.

“The COVID threat is real. I take it seriously. The hearing room has been set up by the Architect of the Capitol in conjunction with the Physician for the House and the Senate to make sure it’s CDC compliant,” said Graham. “Anybody that has a concern about showing up can virtually interview Judge Barrett.”

Judge Barrett was nominated by President Donald Trump during a Rose Garden ceremony on September 26. Immediately after the event several attendees tested positive for the coronavirus including President Trump, the First Lady, and two Republican senators, Utah’s Mike Lee and North Carolina’s Thom Tillis.

Many see Harris as using COVID-19 to attempt to postpone Barrett’s nomination until after the election. The Capitol complex has done a fairly good job of keeping coronavirus cases to a minimum considering the hundreds of people who work and visit. Even Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she’s comfortable with the safety measures that are in place on Capitol Hill.

“The Supreme Court makes decisions that impact millions of Americans for generations. We must ensure that the integrity of the court is upheld by not appointing a new justice until we have a new president,” Harris said.

According to an aide, Harris will join the committee hearing remotely from her office in the Hart Senate Office Building.

PHOTO: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

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