It’s always worth remembering that Trump’s bottomless self-regard and contempt for basic scientific evidence are the rule rather than the exception among Republican elites:
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced Friday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and said he first began feeling symptoms Thursday morning ― right around the time he attended a nearly 90-minute Senate Judiciary Committee hearing without a mask on for at least part of the time.
Lee’s positive COVID-19 test raises serious questions not just about which other senators he may have infected, but what it means for the committee’s plan to begin Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing in 10 days.
Most members of the committee attended the Thursday hearing. Those in attendance included Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Lee.
Lee was there for the entire hearing. He spoke for more than 10 minutes straight when it was his turn to talk, at times shouting into the room. He sat feet away from Cruz. He did not have a mask on when talking, and at times did not have it on when not talking.
The good news for Mike Lee is that he will have good health insurance provided by the American taxpayer. The bad news for tens of millions of people is that he’s working to ram through a midnight Supreme Court confirmation in part because he thinks the Supreme Court should take healthcare away from 30 million people based on legal arguments it would be charitable to call “frivolous.” Indeed, he believes that the Court was right to claim that Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce clause did not extend to the shipment of goods made with child labor because [“Yakety Sax” playing on perpetual loop.] It’s not easier to get more nihilist and Social Darwinist that the author of Buck v. Bell,* but I’m confident Coney Barrett will rise to the challenge just like Lee.
One particularly grim fact is that a 6-3 Republican Supreme Court would have almost certainly struck down various state public health measures taken in response to COVID already. In closely related news, Wisconsin is currently one of the country’s worst hotspots.
*Holmes’s Lochner dissent gets all the press, but his dissent in Dagenhart is better. It might as well have been written in acid:
The notion that prohibition is any less prohibition when applied to things now thought evil I do not understand. But if there is any matter upon which civilized countries have agreed — far more unanimously than they have with regard to intoxicants and some other matters over which this country is now emotionally aroused — it is the evil of premature and excessive child labor. I should have thought that, if we were to introduce our own moral conceptions where in my opinion they do not belong, this was preeminently a case for upholding the exercise of all its powers by the United States.
But I had thought that the propriety of the exercise of a power admitted to exist in some cases was for the consideration of Congress alone, and that this Court always had disavowed the right to intrude its judgment upon questions of policy or morals. It is not for this Court to pronounce when prohibition is necessary to regulation — if it ever may be necessary — to say that it is permissible as against strong drink, but not as against the product of ruined lives.
The act does not meddle with anything belonging to the States. They may regulate their internal affairs and their domestic commerce as they like. But when they seek to send their products across the state line, they are no longer within their rights. If there were no Constitution and no Congress, their power to cross the line would depend upon their neighbors. Under the Constitution, such commerce belongs not to the States, but to Congress to regulate. It may carry out its views of public policy whatever indirect effect they may have upon the activities of the States. Instead of being encountered by a prohibitive tariff at her boundaries, the State encounters the public policy of the United States, which it is for Congress to express. The public policy of the United States is shaped with a view to the benefit of the nation as a whole. If, as has been the case within the memory of men still living, a State should take a different view of the propriety of sustaining a lottery from that which generally prevails, I cannot believe that the fact would require a different decision from that reached in Champion v. Ames. Yet, in that case, it would be said with quite as much force as in this that Congress was attempting to intermeddle with the State’s domestic affairs. The national welfare, as understood by Congress, may require a different attitude within its sphere from that of some self-seeking State. It seems to me entirely constitutional for Congress to enforce its understanding by all the means at its command.