Leading Democrats have described pressing ahead with Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination 'irresponsible and dangerous' and reckless, after seven people at her nomination ceremony tested positive for COVID-19.
Six of the 12 Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were present at Saturday's event - Mike Lee, Marsha Blackburn, Ben Sasse, Josh Hawley, Thom Tillis, and Mike Crapo.
Two - Lee and Tillis - tested positive on Friday.
Coney Barrett, 48, tested negative on Friday, her office said. She had coronavirus this summer and has since recovered.
Amy Coney Barrett is pictured on Saturday at her nomination hearing in the Rose Garden
Mike Lee on Saturday as Amy Coney Barrett was unveiled at the White House
Lee met on Tuesday with Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett
She has spent the week meeting senators, including Lee, of Utah, who tested positive.
Chuck Schumer, the most senior Democrat in the Senate, said it was time to postpone Coney Barrett's hearings, which were due to begin in mid October.
'We now have two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who have tested positive for COVID, and there may be more,' he tweeted on Friday night.
'I wish my colleagues well. It is irresponsible and dangerous to move forward with a hearing, and there is absolutely no good reason to do so.'
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, chair of the Judiciary Committee, insisted that they would proceed as scheduled, with virtual hearings if necessary.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate leader, has vowed that the hearings will go ahead
Lindsey Graham, chair of the Judiciary Committee, said on Friday they were 'on track'
Republicans are intent on ensuring Coney Barrett's confirmation before the election, to guarantee that the Supreme Court leans conservative for the foreseeable future.
Democrats are equally intent on stopping it, arguing that it was unacceptable to chose a new Supreme Court justice in an election year.
'It is premature for Chairman Graham to commit to a hearing schedule when we do not know the full extent of potential exposure stemming from the president's infection and before the White House puts in place a contact tracing plan to prevent further spread of the disease,' said Dianne Feinstein, the 87-year-old ranking Democrat on the committee.
'The unfortunate news about the infection of our colleague Senator Lee makes even more clear that health and safety must guide the schedule for the Senate.
'In addition, there is bipartisan agreement that a virtual confirmation hearing for a lifetime appointment is not acceptable.
'It's critical that Chairman Graham put the health of senators, the nominee and staff first – and ensure a full and