The Senate Judiciary Hearings Could Be Amy Coney Barrett’s Second Superspreader Event

Maskless GOP officials rush to get Trump’s nominee on the court in time for a case that could take health care from millions.

Erin Schaff/AP

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Nearly two weeks after Republicans gathered at the White House to celebrate President Trump’s third nominee to the Supreme Court at a ceremony that quickly became connected to a cluster of positive coronavirus cases, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)—one of the at least 11 people who tested positive after attending the September 26 event—returned to Capitol Hill on Monday to appear in-person for Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing.

Lee declined to wear a mask while giving his opening remarks. He was seen closely talking to other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), whose own refusal to take a coronavirus test prompted the cancellation of a primary debate with his Democratic challenger, Jamie Harrison, on Friday. (A doctor’s note purporting to clear Lee’s appearance on Capitol Hill confirmed that he had developed symptoms, “including remaining but improving fatigue” over the last week.)

Despite his close contact with a recently-infected Trump, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows refused to engage with reporters unless they agreed to speak with him while he was maskless. “I’m more than 10 feet away,” Meadows said, appearing to mock social-distancing concerns before storming away from a group of Capitol Hill journalists. “I’m not going to talk to the press.”

The reckless actions came as Democrats blasted Republicans for ignoring precedent and potential coronavirus safety issues to jam through Barrett’s nomination so she can be seated in time to hear a challenge seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act. That case, which the high court is slated to hear just one week after the election, would kick more than 20 million people off their health insurance in the middle of a pandemic that’s killed more than 210,000 people in the United States. It’s against this prospect of destroying the ACA that Republicans—from the president to Lee—appear emboldened to resume public events, potentially risking the lives of those around them.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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