WASHINGTON — Republican officials and candidates across 20 states, including Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, are urging the Senate to quickly confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court ahead of the general election.
Their message comes in the form of a letter written by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill that will be sent to Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Our Washington D.C. Bureau reports it will be made public Monday.
A majority of the lawmakers who signed the letter are their state’s chief election officer.
“In the case an election issue is challenged in court, America cannot afford a tie vote,” Merrill writes in the letter. “Election results must be reported in a timely, secure, and efficient manner. Confirming Judge Barrett ensures we, as election officials, will be able to successfully administer the General Election without hindrance.”
The letter asks Graham to work with his colleagues to get Barrett confirmed before November 3, “thus ensuring Americans can freely participate in honest elections.”
Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said confirmation hearings for Barrett are still set to begin on Monday, Oct. 12. McConnell’s request requires Democrats to agree.
But Sen. Chuck Schumer said if it’s too dangerous for the Senate work, it’s too dangerous for Barrett’s hearings.
The Republicans’ “monomaniacal drive to confirm Judge Barrett at all costs needlessly threatens the health and safety of Senators, staff, and all those who work in the Capitol complex,” Schumer said in a statement.
Schumer notably did not say Democrats would block McConnell’s plan. Doing so could force the Senate back into the confines of the Capitol, where no one wants to be, without the mandatory testing of lawmakers and their aides.
The decisions on confirmation hearings come as President Donald Trump and a series of GOP lawmakers have fallen ill with the virus that has killed more than 205,000 Americans.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.