Senate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination
Senate Democrats are holding an hours-long talkathon to protest Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination.
Democrats are vowing to hold the floor into Monday morning, as the Senate pulls an all-nighter ahead of a final vote to confirm Barrett to the Supreme Court.
“Senate Democrats are taking over the floor all night to fight this sham process by Senate Republicans. We will not stop fighting,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted on Sunday night.
Democrats are powerless to prevent Barrett’s confirmation since every Republican senator except Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) — who doesn’t believe a vote should take place before the election — is expected to vote to confirm her on Monday.
But Democrats are using the floor speeches, which they are highlighting on social media, to try to build awareness and rail against the decision by Republicans to move just days before the election to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) argued that the Republicans were going to turn the Supreme Court “into just another politicized body” and that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) “can’t or won’t think beyond narrow self-interest.”
“Ours is a Senate … where words have lost their meaning. Party advantage dictates every action. … Deliberation is no longer necessary because conclusions are all foregone,” Bennet added.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) warned Republicans that by confirming Barrett they would create “lasting damage to both this institution and the Supreme Court.”
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) called the GOP plan an “obscene power grab” that was “poisoning the well of the Senate.”
Barrett’s nomination comes four years after Republicans refused to give Merrick Garland, then-President Obama’s final Supreme Court nominee, a hearing or a vote.
Republicans argue that the political shift from 2016, when a Democrat was in the White House, to 2020, when Republicans control both the presidency and the Senate, is a key distinction that’s in line with precedent.
“The Senate is doing the right thing. We’re moving this nomination forward. By tomorrow night, we’ll have a new member of the United States Supreme Court,” McConnell said earlier Sunday on the Senate floor.
But Republicans will set a new record for how close to a presidential election a Supreme Court nominee is confirmed. Previously the closest a Supreme Court nominee was confirmed was July.
“I agree with Mitch McConnell [who said] on the 13th of February, 2016, ‘The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,’ ” said Sen. Angus King (I-Maine).
“He said that eight months before the election. This confirmation if it takes place tomorrow, will be eight days before the election. It doesn’t pass the straight face test,” he added.
Several Democrats warned about the impact a 6-3 conservative Supreme Court could have on health care. Democrats worry that Barrett would vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act as part of a case set to be heard by the court on Nov. 10.
Barrett signaled during her confirmation hearing that she thought ObamaCare could survive even if the court strikes down the individual mandate, which was zeroed out by Senate Republicans as part of their tax bill.
“My Republican colleagues know they can count on her to provide the decisive fifth vote on the Supreme Court to strike down the ACA,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).
Several Democratic senators have already spoken on Sunday night, with others indicating that they would plan to speak after midnight.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said he would be speaking around 12:30 a.m.
“Senate Dems will never stop fighting for what’s right, which is why we’re holding the floor tonight in opposition to Judge Barrett’s nom,” he tweeted.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said that he and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) have the “graveyard shift.”
“Yes, we fight to the end. No hyperbole – it’s life or death stakes. [Schatz] and I have the graveyard shift overnight on the Senate floor. If you’re up between 2 and 5 a.m. tune in,” Murphy tweeted.