Republicans and Democrats sharply split over the nomination of U.S. District Judge Justin Walker for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, with both his statements on rulings on the Affordable Care Act and a recent opinion on religious liberty figuring predominantly during a hearing Wednesday.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic reshaped the dynamics of Walker’s hearing. Some senators chose to videoconference rather than attend the proceeding in a large and sparsely attended chamber. Walker’s family did not attend in seats behind him, as is typical for nominees, and a member of the White House counsel’s office could be seen sitting behind him wearing a face mask.

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