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COVID-19 Is No Excuse Not To Confirm Amy Coney Barrett

Amy Coney Barrett

It seems the left has not given up on their attempts to thwart the Supreme Court confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, employing the shotgun approach in the hopes that any of their desperate arguments might stick. Democrats’ latest ploy to halt Barrett’s confirmation includes alleging that the hearings cannot move forward because two senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee have contracted the coronavirus.

It’s worth being skeptical of the latest retort coming from the left, especially since Democrats historically have opposed any form of hearings for Barrett, even before the senators’ recent diagnoses. Short of physical impossibility, it’s difficult to envision a realm in which the Democrats’ interjections would be made in good faith, given their persistent and often illogical opposition.

First and foremost, senators hold a constitutional office. Not to move forward with the confirmation process amounts to a shirking of a key responsibility the American people have assigned them, a responsibility neatly outlined in Clause 2 of Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. Periods of national crisis are not unheard of, and thus, it has become critical that our governing bodies show a willingness to operate, even under less-than-ideal circumstances.

Democrats’ most recent machinations, however, are far from confidence-inducing. Their latest moves to shut down the confirmation hearings arguably signal the unseriousness with which they approach their roles. Those who staff our groceries, pharmacies, and other essential services show up each day. So too can our senators, whether virtually or with the safety precautions they feel appropriate.

It’s also unclear how holding the confirmation hearings for Barrett constitutes a threat to the health and safety of senators and their staff, while debating the merits of cannabis banking under the auspices of “providing much-needed COVID relief” is regarded as absolutely essential. If there were true concern over not wasting valuable time together, the Senate would not at the same time have been indulging Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s irreverent proposals at the expense of the American people.

To his credit, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has offered for the hearings to be conducted virtually if any senators remain concerned about transmission, but Democrats have rejected this proposition too on the basis that the hearings are of too great importance to be conducted virtually. They are too important to hold but apparently not too important to indefinitely delay.

Thus we reach the crux of Democrat intransigence and bloviating. Since the start of the pandemic, the Senate has conducted more than 20 committee hearings virtually, on topics ranging from the use of police force and community relations, to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, to holding China liable for its role in spreading the Wuhan virus. All of these topics are meaningful and worthwhile, and every single hearing was conducted virtually.

In fact, at one hearing on May 6, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., remarked to Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., “Thank you for being willing to do a hybrid hearing like we’re seeing today. Sen. Blunt and I in the Rules Committee worked hard to get this done.” Evidently, at one point, Democrats had an appetite for such methods.

Unsurprisingly, the Senate has forged plans to continue holding such hearings. In fact, the Senate Commerce Committee will be conducting hearings later this month, not only on the liability protection enjoyed by larger media platforms but also on data privacy and media consolidation. The CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter are scheduled to appear virtually on Oct. 28, mere days before the 2020 election, a time when anxieties over social media usage are particularly high.

If safety were the genuine concern, Democrats would be comforted by the prospect of virtual hearings. And if “importance” were of issue, then the other high-level hearings conducted virtually should be re-examined to be sure that the Democrats were paying attention and treating the hearings with the requisite level of seriousness they allege they cannot employ in a virtual setting. Furthermore, if virtual interaction is so deeply problematic, perhaps that should apply to the millions of American children who are being educated virtually.

The latest attempt to block the hearings, even virtual ones, speaks that Democrats are more interested in performative circuses than holding substantive hearings. The virtual setting would rob Democrats of the unintelligible bravado and angry bullying tactics they employed during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings in order to score cheap political points and garner some national stature. That’s not the purpose of the hearings, however, and it never was.

In an ironic twist, perhaps virtual hearings would return some normalcy and decorum to a process formerly hijacked by the theatrics of the left.