Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett strives to show independence from White House, Republicans

WASHINGTON – Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett fought back Tuesday against caricatures that she is a committed advocate for conservative causes chosen by President Donald Trump to do his bidding on issues ranging from abortion to the Affordable Care Act.

Barrett: Noboday wants ‘Law of Amy’

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In a marathon session before the Senate Judiciary Committee just three weeks from Election Day, Barrett was put on the defensive by Democrats charging that she was picked because of her views on abortion, gun rights, same-sex marriage and particularly the health care law headed to the high court for the third time next month.

“That is their stated objective and plan. Why not take them at their word?” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said in reference to Republicans and special-interest groups backing Barrett’s nomination.

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Barrett strived to show her independence from the president and conservative forces that have joined together in hopes of a speedy confirmation, wedged tightly between Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and an election that Trump has made clear could be challenged in court.

“I certainly hope that all members of the committee have more confidence in my integrity than to think that I would allow myself to be used as a pawn to decide the election for the American people,” Barrett said.

More: Supreme Court begins 2020 term as a key election issue: Will it decide the election, too?

But several Democrats implied just that. They urged Barrett to pledge that if confirmed, she would recuse herself both from cases involving the election and from the challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

“Republicans are scrambling to confirm this nominee as fast as possible because they need one more Trump judge on the bench before Nov. 10 to win and strike down the Affordable Care Act,” Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, a committee member, said as the hearing stretched past dinner time. “This is happening.”

Time and again in response, Barrett indicated that she came to the hearing with an agenda: to assure senators she has no agenda.

“Judges cannot just wake up one day and say: ‘I have an agenda. I like guns. I hate abortion,’ and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,” she said.

Despite efforts by Democrats to paint her as a hard-right conservative, Barrett refused to be pinned down on such hot-button issues as race and LGBTQ rights. When the subject of racial justice came up, she recounted how she wept with one of her daughters, who is Black and adopted from Haiti, over the death of George Floyd while being pinned down by police in Minneapolis.



a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett listens during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.


© Bonnie Cash, AP
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett listens during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

“Racism persists in our country,” she said, later condemning white supremacy and acknowledging that there is

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Fauci calls Amy Coney Barrett ceremony in Rose Garden ‘superspreader event’

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, on Friday called President Donald Trump’s Rose Garden ceremony last month announcing Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court a “superspreader event.”

Fauci, who was interviewed by CBS News Radio’s White House correspondent Steven Portnoy, defended the efficacy of wearing masks to slow the spread of Covid-19 and used the ceremony as an example.

“Well, I think the data speaks for themselves. We had a superspreader event in the White House and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks,” he said. “So the data speak for themselves.”

This is not the first time Fauci has been at odds with Trump, who has had a cavalier attitude toward Covid-19 since being released from the hospital Monday after being infected with the virus, and has boasted about his apparent recovery and given mixed messaging around wearing masks.

Fauci survived a previous White House attempt to discredit him after he contradicted the president’s more optimistic assessment of the progress of the pandemic and corrected the president’s claim that the virus is the same as the flu.

Trump announced Barrett, a federal appeals judge, as his nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the next Supreme Court justice at an outdoor ceremony Sept. 26, attended by more than 150 people, many of whom did not wear masks or practice social distancing.

In addition to the president and the first lady, several other people who were at the ceremony have been confirmed to have Covid-19: former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, Republican Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins and a White House journalist.

Following that event, the number of people in Trump’s orbit who have tested positive for the coronavirus is growing, including more than a dozen aides at the White House and on the Trump campaign.

Fauci also contradicted the president, but did not mention his name, when asked about references to cures for Covid-19, saying it “leads to a lot of confusion,” noting there are promising treatments but no known cure. Trump has called the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals drug he received a miracle “cure” for the virus.

Fauci also said he is worried Americans might not take the virus seriously as the president touts his apparent recovery.

“I think a misperception on the part of some is that this isn’t a particularly serious situation and because so many people do well, that you don’t really have to take it seriously,” he said. “And that’s a misperception we have to overcome because you don’t want to trivialize the disease because it has the capability of seriously making an individual seriously ill and also killing individuals, usually the elderly, and usually those who have underlying medical conditions.”

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Amy Coney Barrett Rose Garden Event Was a WH COVID Superspreader, New Data Suggests

Shortly after judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination event at the White House’s Rose Garden, a number of those in attendance tested positive for COVID-19 and new data suggests that the event was a superspreader for the virus.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: U.S. President Donald Trump announces 7th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House September 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.


© Chip Somodevilla/Getty
U.S. President Donald Trump announces 7th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House September 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.

According to data, that was released on Tableau Public by Peter James Walker, at least 37 cases of the new coronavirus were confirmed within 12 days after Barrett’s nomination event on September 26. In an email sent to Newsweek, Walker explained that the data is all crowd-sourced from public information, such as “tweets from verified reporters, news articles in trusted outlets, etc.”

Walker also noted that the site has an online tip line for anyone to forward new information, which is then verified with real articles before it is added to the tracker.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania were two of the biggest names to test positive for COVID-19 after the event, but several other positive tests were reported shortly after.

The data shows that at least 11 people that attended the September 26 event tested positive for COVID-19.

In addition to Trump and the first lady, the data show the others who tested positive after attending the event include Washington-based photojournalist Al Drago, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, California Pastor Greg Laurie, University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, former counselor to Trump Kellyanne Conway, Utah Senator Mike Lee, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis and a White House press corps journalist.

It is unclear how many of these people contracted the virus, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that signs and symptoms of the virus can appear within two to 14 days after being

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Amy Coney Barrett bus tour features conservative Christian activist who was exposed to coronavirus at White House

But instead of isolating herself at home in Washington, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, the conservative activist is traveling the country. Since Wednesday, she has been boosting Barrett from a pastel pink bus bearing the nominee’s face and the words “Women For Amy” as it makes its way through a dozen swing states this month.

So far, the tour — officially put on by Nance’s group, Concerned Women for America — has kicked off with Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) near Atlanta, hosted college students in South Carolina, and met with Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) in Raleigh, with nearly 30 more stops planned.

At all the stops so far, attendees have posed for photos while standing shoulder to shoulder, with few masks in sight, according to social media posts. (Loeffler, who also attended the White House ceremony, said she has since tested negative for the virus.)

It is unclear if Nance or others on the bus have been tested for the coronavirus, which has killed more than 212,000 people in the United States. Her organization declined to comment to the Guardian on the apparent lack of masks and social distancing at its events, and did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post.

Nance is far from the only person potentially exposed in the Rose Garden, The Post reported, who has since scattered around the country with little oversight and no systematic contacting tracing efforts. On Thursday, Donald Trump Jr., who accompanied his father to the presidential debate and said he tested negative, held a packed campaign rally inside a Florida hotel.

In its focus on rallying support to confirm Barrett, a former clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia, Concerned Women for America will tour several states in the coming days that have been reporting a surge in infections.

“If we’ve learned anything from the confirmation process of Brett M. Kavanaugh, it’s that the left will stoop to anything,” Nance said in a video on Instagram. “The attacks on her faith, the anti-Christian bigotry isn’t just attacks against her. It’s an attack on you. That’s why Concerned Women for America is going to hit the road.”

As Barrett draws scrutiny from liberals over her involvement in People of Praise, a small Christian organization where she once served as a “handmaid,” the bus tour points to how antiabortion activists are citing her faith to rally behind her.

“What a historic moment for conservative Christian women,” Nance said in the video. “We get to sit on the sidelines of history and witness the confirmation of one of our own: a conservative Christian constitutionalist appointed by President Trump to the Supreme Court.”

Senate confirmation hearings start Monday, and with nearly all Republican senators having committed to supporting the Trump nominee, she is expected to be voted through as soon as Oct. 22. Nance’s bus, however, is set to keep traveling around the country through the end of the month, looping from Pennsylvania to the Midwest and

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White House prepping Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court confirmation hearing

The White House Counsel’s Office is prepping Judge Amy Coney Barrett for her Senate confirmation hearings, where they anticipate the Supreme Court nominee will be questioned about a range of issues, including her nomination event in the Rose Garden which lead to President Trump and members of his inner circle testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

A senior administration official told Fox News that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and “constitutional experts” within the White House Counsel’s Office are preparing Barrett for the confirmation hearings, which are slated to begin Monday, Oct. 12 before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and run through Thursday, Oct. 15.

AMY CONEY BARRETT CONFIRMATION HEARING TO BEGIN OCT. 12, AS SENATE RAMPS UP COVID19 PRECAUTIONS

“Barrett will be an outstanding witness and will be confirmed,” the official told Fox News.

The official told Fox News that Cipollone and the team are prepping Barrett for questions on a range of issues — including the Sept. 26 nominating event in the Rose Garden.

After the event, the president, first lady Melania Trump, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, White House adviser Hope Hicks, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, former adviser Kellyanne Conway, director of Oval Office operations David Luna, Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, and Harvest Christian Fellowship Pastor Greg Laurie all tested positive for COVID-19.

The official told Fox News that they could not preview how Barrett would respond to that line of questioning, but defended the event, saying it was “held outdoors” and “there was a lot of testing done beforehand.”

“We have to reopen our country,” the official said. “We take precautions but we have to reopen our country, we have to continue our duties, and we had to nominate this outstanding judge to the Supreme Court.”

A White House aide told Fox News that Cipollone “knows what she’ll be questioned on.”

“He’ll know ways to navigate those without telegraphing too much to get through the confirmation,” the aide said.

Meanwhile, the official said the White House anticipates Barrett will be questioned on issues and cases involving abortion, specifically Roe v. Wade, and the Obamacare case that is pending before the high court.

“They are going to try a million different ways to get her to discuss cases that may come before her,” the official said. “But, with the Ginsburg rule, she won’t be doing that.”

Ginsburg, during her confirmation hearings in 1993, chose not to answer questions that may hint at how she would rule on a future case. The practice has been informally named the Ginsburg rule.

The official added: “She’s committed to being a fair-minded judge, who will set aside her personal opinions.”

Meanwhile, senior officials told Fox News that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has been tasked with prepping Barrett and shepherding her through the Senate.

“He knows exactly the senators we’ll need to win over, and the issues that matter to them,” one senior White House official told Fox

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Pence Defends Amy Coney Barrett Rose Garden Event Because It Was Outside And ‘Many’ Attendees Were Tested Beforehand

Topline

With Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination ceremony at the White House increasingly looking like a superspreader event of coronavirus infections, Vice President Mike Pence defended the gathering Wednesday at the vice presidential candidates’ debate, arguing that it was outdoors and attendees were tested beforehand—but there was a portion of the event held indoors and health experts say testing or being outdoors doesn’t mean attendees should disregard safety guidelines on social distancing and wearing masks.

Key Facts

Pence said “many people” at the ceremony were tested for coronavirus and “it was an outdoor event, which all of our scientists regularly and routinely advise.”

But that isn’t entirely true because there was a smaller reception inside the White House, and at both that and the outdoor gathering in the Rose Garden, most attendees failed to wear masks and gathered together in close proximity.

Health experts also say a negative test doesn’t mean people should stop social distancing or wearing masks since it can sometimes take up to a week between first exposure and a positive test result.

When asked by moderator Susan Page why Americans should follow coronavirus safety guidelines when the White House hasn’t, Pence said that Americans will choose to do the right thing if given the facts.

Crucial Quote

“That Rose Garden event, there’s a great deal of speculation about it. My wife Karen and I were honored to be there. Many people that were at that event, Susan, were tested for coronavirus and it was an outdoor event, which all of our scientists regularly and routinely advise. The difference here is that President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interest of their health,” Pence said.

Key Background

At least 11 people who attended the nomination ceremony have tested positive.

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At least 8 people who attended a White House Rose Garden event for Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination have tested positive for COVID-19



a group of people sitting on a bench in a park: President Donald Trump and Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Rose Garden at the White House on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Alex Brandon/AP Photo


© Alex Brandon/AP Photo
President Donald Trump and Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Rose Garden at the White House on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Alex Brandon/AP Photo

  • At least eight people who attended an event on September 26 where President Donald Trump announced his Supreme Court pick have since tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Trump announced that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the virus on Friday. 
  • At least 150 people attended the event last week.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee on Saturday at an event with 150 attendees. 

Almost a week later on Friday, Trump announced that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19. Now the event has come under some scrutiny, as at least eight attendees have tested positive for the virus this week.

It’s unclear if the Rose Garden gathering qualifies as a super-spreader event, or how or when those who contracted COVID-19 got the virus — whether at the event or elsewhere.

Here are all the prominent attendees who have tested positive for the virus:

Barrett tested negative on Friday but had the coronavirus this summer. 

More people in the president’s inner circle who interacted with him the week prior to his diagnosis also tested positive. White House aide Hope Hicks, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, campaign manager Bill Stepien, and Trump’s personal assistant are also among those who have recently tested positive for COVID-19. 

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The Rose Garden Ceremony for Amy Coney Barrett May Have Been a Super-Spreader Event. Could It Derail Her Supreme Court Nomination?

Republican senators, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham, are trying to rush through the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett in near-record time, hoping to confirm her as the court’s ninth justice by Election Day, now just a month away.

But the coronavirus may end up thwarting those plans.

It’s looking more and more like the Rose Garden ceremony held on Sept. 26 to announce Barrett’s nomination to the seat left vacant by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg will turn out to be a super-spreader event. A number of attendees, including two key senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee—Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah—and, of course, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, have since tested positive for coronavirus and have entered quarantine. Among the other attendees who have announced that they too have tested positive: former presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway (disclosed by her daughter on TikTok); former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was one of Trump’s debate coaches before Tuesday’s face-off with Joe Biden; Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien and Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame University, where Barrett taught for 15 years before being elevated to the Circuit Court of Appeals in 2019.

From the beginning, the timeline to confirm Barrett before Election Day was going to be a tight one. Sen. Graham had announced that hearings would begin on Oct. 12, saying he expected to send the judge’s nomination to the full Senate by Oct. 22 and then confirm her as soon as Oct. 26, eight days before Election Day

Top Senate Democrats have, from the beginning of the process, complained bitterly about its speed, arguing that no hearings should take place until the voters have a chance to choose a president on Nov. 3. The coronavirus developments have only amplified those objections.

“It’s critical that Chairman Graham put the health of senators, the nominee and staff first—and ensure a full and fair hearing that is not rushed, not truncated and not virtual,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said in a joint statement issued Friday. “Otherwise this already illegitimate process will become a dangerous one.” Schumer followed up with a tweet after the news of Lee’s and Tillis’s positive tests became public:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren also tweeted out her concerns about the confirmation hearings going forward:

The Republicans have a 53–47 majority in the Senate, but two of their members, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have already said they oppose holding a vote to confirm a Supreme Court justice before the election. With all Democrats going on the record to say that they will oppose the nomination, McConnell will need every remaining vote of his party’s senators (and possibly the tie-breaker of Vice President Mike Pence) to confirm Barrett. 

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Amy Coney Barrett’s Rose Garden Debut Complicates GOP Confirmation Plans

WASHINGTON—The event designed to present Amy Coney Barrett as President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is now complicating Senate Republicans’ effort to keep her confirmation on track.

At least eight people at a Rose Garden event on Saturday, Sept. 26, have tested positive for Covid-19, including two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee responsible for advancing the nomination. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said he intends to cancel Senate votes planned for the next two weeks, aiming to guard against the risk of the virus spreading in the Senate and sidelining more Republicans while keeping on track confirmation hearings set to begin Oct. 12.

“Every precaution needs to be taken because we don’t anticipate any Democratic support at all, either in committee or in the full Senate, and therefore, everybody needs to be in an all-hands-on-deck mind-set,” Mr. McConnell said Friday on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”

The nightmare scenario for Mr. McConnell would be that so many Republicans fall ill that he is left unable to muster the quorum necessary to hold votes before Election Day. Under the U.S. Constitution, the Senate needs a majority to do business. Republicans hold 53 of 100 seats. The absence of three Republican senators would deprive Mr. McConnell of a majority from within his own conference should Democrats decide to use procedural tools to force Republicans to demonstrate that they have a quorum. Vice President Mike Pence isn’t a senator and can’t contribute to a quorum.

In the immediate term, the bigger complication was for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), whose plans call for holding opening statements on Monday, Oct. 12, before Judge Barrett is questioned. Mr. Graham had originally planned in-person hearings, but on Friday he said “any senator who wants to participate virtually will be allowed to do so.”

That statement left open the possibility of a virtual Supreme Court nomination hearing. Many on the Senate Judiciary Committee were potentially exposed Thursday to Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah), an attendee of the Saturday event at the Rose Garden whose positive Covid-19 test result came back on Thursday night—after the committee meeting that day.

Democrats blasted Republicans, saying GOP leaders were taking unnecessary risks by rushing.

“To proceed at this juncture with a hearing to consider Judge Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court threatens the health and safety of all those who are called upon to do the work of this body,” California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the committee, and other Democrats wrote to Mr. Graham. “Holding a remote hearing for a Supreme Court nomination is not an adequate substitute,” they wrote, because “questioning nominees by video is ineffective and ignores the gravity of our constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on lifetime appointments, particularly those to the nation’s highest court.”

CDC guidelines recommend that people stay home for 14 days from their last known contact with a person diagnosed with Covid-19.

That would make Friday, Oct. 16, the first day that any committee member

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What Is The ‘Rose Garden Massacre?’ Amy Coney Barrett Announcement May Have Been Super Spreader Event

As President Donald Trump and several other key members of the Republican Party and his staff continue to test positive for COVID-19, all eyes are turning to an event last weekend which all of the parties now ill were present at—the President’s Rose Garden ceremony to announce Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

According to the Washington Post, at least seven people who were in attendance at the Sept. 25 event—including the President, Republican senators Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, former counselor Kellyanne Conway and Notre Dame President John Jenkins—have all since tested positive for the coronavirus. Mask use was not common at the event, with several people forgoing facial coverings, as social distancing was also largely ignored. Since then, speculation has grown that someone in attendance was positive for the virus, and then spread it to the others who have all since become infected.

Thus far, symptoms have reportedly been mild for most of those infected, though the President has been hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center put of precaution.

Barrett has tested negative after attending the event, though she was previously diagnosed with the virus during the late summer and recovered, CNN reports.

Since news of many who attended the event getting sick broke, critics have taken to Twitter to deem it the “Rose Garden Massacre,” which trended on Saturday as more names of attendees were released as people who tested positive.

Others used the news to criticize the President and his family for their generally refusing to wear masks—pointing out the President’s family for all taking off their masks after being seated at Tuesday’s debate in Ohio with Joe Biden.

Some also took the news to poke fun at the last time the Rose Garden made news—which was over the summer after Melania Trump caught criticism for changing the look of the space and ripping out plants put in by Jackie Kennedy ahead of the Republican National Convention.

In a press conference Saturday, Dr. Sean Conley stated the President is “doing very well,” though he remains hospitalized. 

White House Rose Garden The White House Rose Garden is pictured on August 22, 2020 after renovations. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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