Protesters arrested on first day of Barrett hearings
© Getty Images

Capitol Police arrested 21 protesters outside the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Monday, the first day of Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettCapitol Police Board — the structural flaw in leadership 2020: A year in photos Planned Parenthood president says abortion work shouldn't be marginalized MORE

Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said in a statement that police responded to an “unlawful demonstration” at about 8:35 a.m. on Monday after protesters against Barrett’s nomination to the high court held a sit-in in front of the building. Twenty-one were handcuffed and charged with obstructing the entryway, and one was charged with unlawful conduct. 

President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol MORE nominated Barrett last month to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg, George Floyd among options for 'Remember the Titans' school's new name Bipartisan anger builds over police failure at Capitol Lindsey Graham praises Merrick Garland as 'sound choice' to serve as attorney general MORE, setting off a partisan fight with just weeks to go before the November elections.

ADVERTISEMENT

Democrats are crying foul, saying Republican leaders are violating the precedent set in 2016 when they blocked a confirmation hearing for Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandBiden's new challenge: Holding Trump accountable Graham says he'll back Biden's CIA pick A Democratic agenda for impossibly hard times MORE, an Obama nominee, during election season. Republicans have said the situation is different because now the same party holds power in the White House and the Senate, unlike in 2016.

A public audience was not permitted at Barrett’s confirmation hearing Monday due to the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a sometimes chaotic scene on Capitol Hill 22 days before Election Day.

Protesters in favor of and against her confirmation gathered in groups and held posters and placards, The Washington Post reported. Conservatives warned that waiting to fill the vacancy until after the election would set a bad precedent, while progressives cautioned that Barrett’s appointment would jeopardize health care, LGBTQ rights and reproductive rights. 

When police arrested the 21 progressive protesters, conservative demonstrators cheered and yelled “law and order” from behind a police line, according to the Post.