Protesters arrested on first day of Barrett hearings
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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 BarrettSupreme Court's Pennsylvania mail ballot ruling tees up test for Barrett Schumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Progress, but no breakthrough, on coronavirus relief 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 John TrumpBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE nominated Barrett last month to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgLGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress Cunningham, Tillis locked in tight race in North Carolina: poll 51 percent want Barrett seated on Supreme Court: poll MORE, setting off a partisan fight with just weeks to go before the November elections.


Democrats are crying foul, saying Republican leaders are violating the precedent set in 2016 when they blocked a confirmation hearing for Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandDemocrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein 51 percent want Barrett seated on Supreme Court: poll Senate Republicans offer constitutional amendment to block Supreme Court packing 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.