Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is participating in Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings remotely because the GOP has failed to take “commonsense steps to protect members, aides, Capitol complex workers, and members of the media,” her spokesperson said over the weekend.
“Due to Judiciary Committee Republicans’ refusal to take commonsense steps to protect members, aides, Capitol complex workers, and members of the media, Senator Harris plans to participate in this week’s hearings remotely from her Senate office in the Hart building,” Harris spokesman Chris Harris said in a statement.
In a tweet on Sunday, Harris proclaimed, “[Lindsey] Graham and Senate Republicans are endangering the lives of not just members and our staff, but the hardworking people who keep the Senate complex running”:
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 complex running.
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) October 11, 2020
Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) kicked off the hearing Monday morning, describing Barrett as existing in a “category of excellence” and asking his Democrat colleagues to conduct the week of contentious hearings with respect. Ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who attended the hearing in person, followed, using her opening statement to paint a dire picture of the future of health care in America. However, she said she hopes it will be a “very good hearing.”
Harris’s participation comes as she continues to campaign as Joe Biden’s (D) running mate, with the election less than a month away. Harris largely led the charge against now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh during the last confirmation hearing, pursuing unsubstantiated allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh and sharing deceptively edited videos. During the hearing, she famously attempted to incorporate the now-debunked Trump-Russia collusion theory, asking Kavanaugh if he spoke to someone at a Trump-linked law firm regarding former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. She claimed to have had a “good reason to believe there was a conversation.”
Harris has already publicized her opposition to Trump’s nomination but has refused to say if a Biden-Harris administration would pack the court. However, when asked about it in 2019, she said she was “absolutely” open to the idea.