Where Things Stand: COVID Forces Sen GOP To Chill On Judge Confirmations

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 11: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (2nd L) speaks as Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) (L), Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) (3rd L) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) (R) listen durin... WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 11: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (2nd L) speaks as Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) (L), Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) (3rd L) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) (R) listen during a news briefing after the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon June 11, 2019 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. McConnell said the Senate plans to take up a funding bill to address the humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS
April 13, 2020 1:40 p.m.
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As Congress is consumed by how best to confront and combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, Senate Republicans have been forced to toss their efforts — to confirm a string of conservative judges while Republicans still hold the majority in the upper chamber — to the backseat.

Dare I call this a temporary reprieve?

According to Politico, more than 36 nominations have been put on pause as senators grapple with how to conduct business from afar and save American lives while doing it. In an effort largely led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the pace of confirmations has been particularly rapid, especially in the case of federal appeals court judges. While the effort has been under-covered when compared to Trump administration blunders, Democratic leadership has long warned the consequences of this confirmation campaign will linger for a lifetime.

Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following:

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Matt Shuham is looking into the Trump campaign’s decision to sue a local TV station for running a Priorities USA ad.

Tierney Sneed is reporting on the Supreme Court’s decision to hear oral arguments via a teleconference next month amid coronavirus concerns.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

President Trump claimed on Monday that he has the authority to tell individual states that they must reopen for business, a demonstrably false claim. Neither Trump nor the federal government can force governors to reopen businesses in their states. This appears to be Trump’s new line of attack. We’ll keep an eye on the rhetoric.

Trump and the vice president have already diverted attention away from their administration’s response to the pandemic outbreak by targeting the World Health Organization, which the President is expected to announce funding restrictions on this week. Trump has complained in recent days the the group, an arm of the United Nations, has been too “China-centric” in its handling of the outbreak.

Today’s Rundown

12:30 p.m. ET: Trump had lunch with the vice president in the private dining room.

5:00 p.m. ET: The coronavirus task force will hold its press briefing.

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Report: Trump Privately Asks Why Government Can’t Just Let COVID ‘Wash Over’ The Country — Cristina Cabrera

What We Are Reading

Suspicious Texts Claimed A Missing Woman Had Coronavirus. Then, Police Arrested Her Husband On Murder Charges — Katie Shepherd

Live Concerts Won’t Return Until ‘Fall 2021 at the Earliest,’ Health Expert Warns — Wren Graves

If I Wrote A Coronavirus Episode — Maria Elena Fernandez

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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