As a Senate panel begins the confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, two things seem like safe bets. The first is that Republicans have the votes to confirm. The second is that, as predicted by judiciary panel chief Lindsey Graham in his introduction of Barrett Monday, "this is going to be a long, contentious week." Senators won't actually start questioning the judge until Tuesday. Coverage:
- ObamaCare: As expected, Democrats were putting an emphasis on the danger Barrett represents to the Affordable Care Act. (A key case is on the docket next month.) "The president has promised to appoint justices who will vote to dismantle that law," said Dianne Feinstein in her opening statement, adding that coverage of "millions of Americans is at stake." The Hill notes that while Barrett has "dropped big hints" that she would vote against the ACA, she hasn't explicitly stated it.
- Maskless: Mike Lee, one of two GOP senators to test positive for COVID earlier this month, took part in the proceedings in person and addressed the panel for several minutes without a mask, notes NPR. "I feel great!" he shouted to reporters before the hearing. He also released a letter from the Attending Physician of Congress stating, "Based on current CDC guidelines, you have met criteria to end COVID-19 isolation for those with mild to moderate disease," per the AP. Thom Tillis, the other to test positive, is participating remotely.