Canada

U.S. Senate confirms Supreme Court pick Barrett in nearly party-line vote

During her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee two weeks ago, Barrett, a favorite of Christian conservatives, irked Democrats by sidestepping questions on abortion, presidential powers, climate change, voting rights, Obamacare and other issues.

The Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony at which Trump named Barrett as his nominee preceded a wave of COVID-19 cases among top Republicans including Trump and first lady Melania Trump. The president spent three nights hospitalized receiving COVID-19 treatment.

The event, part of which occurred in the White House Rose Garden, was crowded with guests, many of whom did not wear masks.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters that Monday’s event likely would be held outdoors.

“Tonight, we’ll be doing the best we can to encourage as much social distancing as possible,” Meadows said.

Senator Kevin Cramer, a Republican and Trump ally, said he was not overly concerned about attending the White House event.

“I would anticipate that everybody will practice good hygiene, social distancing, whatever is appropriate,” Cramer told reporters.

Several other Republican senators said they were not sure they would attend, and McConnell did not reply when asked by a reporter. Earlier this month, McConnell said he had not been at the White House since August because of its handling of COVID-19 precautions.

(Reporting by Steve Holland and Richard Cowan; Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell, Andrea Shalal, Lawrence Hurley, Sarah N. Lynch and Susan Heavey; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney)

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