The surreal — yet normal — start to Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing

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Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on October 12, 2020, in Washington, DC.  | Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The hearing is far from business as usual — but its first day often felt like it was.

The opening day of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing felt both surreal and oddly routine.

About a week and a half after two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee tested positive for the coronavirus, masked lawmakers gathered to make opening statements, with some including Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) appearing remotely. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) — one of the Republican lawmakers to be recently diagnosed with coronavirus — returned to make his statement in person after being cleared by the Capitol’s attending physician, who noted that he did not need to take an additional test (Lee has not shared whether he has recently tested negative).

But even as it proceeded without delay, the hearing was far from business as usual: It’s taking place as Republicans try to push through a nominee as quickly as…


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