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Yup, This Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing Sure Is Happening, I Guess

Today is the first day of Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. The hearings come at a remarkable moment when COVID-19 is spreading through those around the White House—possibly due to the event announcing Barrett’s nomination—including Senator Mike Lee, a Judiciary Committee member who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month and has spoken mask-free at today’s hearing. Meanwhile, Senator Ted Cruz appeared remotely by live video, because he’s currently quarantining after interacting with people infected with COVID-19.

Congress is currently facing gridlock on more economic pandemic relief, and Republicans have made no secret of the fact that, as they blame Democrats for that delay, their main priority right now is getting Barrett on the Supreme Court. That’s been thrown into especially sharp relief today as Republicans’ opening statements have tried to pain the Supreme Court as apolitical, as though such a thing is even possible—and, insultingly, as though any one of us will be fooled into thinking Republicans aren’t in a massive rush to get this done because the court does not somehow exist outside of politics. They just want to try to push the idea that their own viewpoints are objectively correct.

It’s going to be an annoying week of hearings, in which Democrats point out that Republicans intentionally picked someone who would back up their stances on abortion and the Affordable Care Act in the U.S. Supreme Court, and Republicans pretend to be scandalized by the idea that such a thing could even happen. Today, this already resulted in an extended, patronizing “civics lesson” and Ted Cruz’s rationalization of why this confirmation is different from Republicans refusing to even hold hearings on Merrick Garland in 2016, among other things, and it’s only going to get more contentious from here.

(image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.