WASHINGTON — Two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have tested positive for the coronavirus, raising questions about upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett and whether additional senators may have been exposed.
North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and Utah Sen. Mike Lee both said Friday that they had tested positive for the virus. Both attended a ceremony for Barrett at the White House on Sept. 25 with President Donald Trump, who announced Friday that he had tested positive and was later hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Lee, who did not wear a mask at the White House event, said he had “symptoms consistent with longtime allergies.” Tillis, who did wear a mask, said he has no symptoms. Both said they will quarantine for 10 days — ending just before Barrett’s confirmation hearings begin on Oct. 12.
The positive tests come as Senate Republicans are pushing to quickly confirm Barrett in the few weeks they have before the Nov. 3 election. There is little cushion in the schedule set out by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who want to put Trump’s third hand-picked justice on the court immediately in case they lose any of their power in the election.