Vice President Mike Pence will not preside over Monday’s Senate vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Pence is currently on the campaign trail and is scheduled to make a stop in Minnesota on Monday despite an outbreak of coronavirus cases among people in the the vice president‘s inner circle over the weekend.
Five cases of the coronavirus were reported among the vice president’s close associates on Saturday, including Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short. Pence and his wife Karen both tested negative for the coronavirus on Saturday.
Pence aides told multiple outlets that he will not preside as Senate president over Barrett’s confirmation vote after Senate Democrats sounded the alarm that his attendance would amount to a health hazard for other members.
“Not only would your presence in the Senate Chamber tomorrow be a clear violation of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, it would also be a violation of common decency and courtesy,” Senate Democrats including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote Monday in a letter to Pence, adding that his presence is “is not a risk worth taking.”
In the event of a tie, Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote to confirm Barrett. However, Republicans appear to have 52 Republican votes in favor of her confirmation to the high court. The only Republican expected to vote against Barrett is Senator Susan Collins of Maine.
The confirmation vote is expected to take place around 7p.m. Monday evening and President Trump is scheduled to swear Barrett in shortly thereafter in an outdoor ceremony at the White House.