As COVID Tension Grips Capitol Hill, Report on Amy Coney Barrett's Health Emerges


Recent cases of the coronavirus among high-profile figures in Washington, D.C., may not end up impacting the Supreme Court nomination of Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett in a major way.

According to a Friday report from The Washington Post, Barrett already tested positive for the disease this past summer — a reality which will likely leave her at decreased risk of contracting it again, with only a handful of reinfections confirmed to date.

The report was based on anonymous confirmation from three separate sources “familiar with her diagnosis,” none of whom had received authorization to share the judge’s medical information. CNN and Time also reported that Barrett had tested positive for the virus over the summer.

White House officials were apparently unwilling to confirm or deny the claim, but deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere did disclose that Barrett was placed on a daily testing schedule in light of her nomination.

“She is following CDC guidance and best practices, including social distancing, wearing face coverings, and frequently washes hands,” Deere told The Post.

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The judge’s most recent test, which took place Friday morning, also came up negative, according to the White House spokesman.

Fear of increased viral transmission regained traction at the White House and on Capitol Hill this week as President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump announced early Friday morning that they had tested positive.

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Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah followed closely behind the two, announcing hours later that he too had contracted the disease, and would be quarantining for 10 days.

A member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, however, Lee was adamant that he would be “back to work in time” for the start of Supreme Court confirmation proceedings, which are scheduled to begin the week of Oct. 12, according to CNN.

“I have spoken with [Majority] Leader [Mitch] McConnell and [Judiciary Committee] Chairman [Lindsey] Graham and assured them I will be back to work in time to join my Judiciary Committee colleagues in advancing the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Committee and then to the full Senate,” Lee said in a statement.

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Barrett was in contact with both Trump and Lee in the past week, from the official announcement of her nomination on Saturday to individual meetings with members of the Senate GOP. (According to The Post, Barrett has met with 30 senators so far this week.)

The judge was also in contact with University of Notre Dame president John I. Jenkins, who said Friday he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

A Notre Dame alumnus, she also taught law at the university this past year, but the institution’s administration was unwilling to disclose any information about a previous coronavirus diagnosis.

“It would be inappropriate for the university to provide information on an employee’s health history,” university spokesman Dennis Brown told The Post.

The Western Journal reached out to the White House for further comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosted the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.