Democrats have spoken all through the night in the Senate in protest against Republicans rushing through Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Barrett is expected to be confirmed to the Supreme Court on Monday (October 26), with the Republican controlled Senate rushing through the appointment of the Trump nominee just one week before the presidential election on November 3.
Democratic senators are largely powerless to stop Republicans appointing the anti-LGBT+ Catholic judge to the United States’ highest court — so they instead chose to speak all through the night in protest.
Various Democratic senators took to the floor to address their concerns about the appointment of Barrett to the Supreme Court.
In a furious speech, Elizabeth Warren tore into Republican senators, saying that any vote for Barrett’s nomination represented a vote to “strip healthcare from millions of people”.
“It is a vote to turn back the clock on reproductive freedom, to endanger dreamers and immigrants, to let climate change rampage unchecked, to imperil efforts to address systemic racism, to place workers’ rights, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, gun violence prevention, all at risk,” Warren said.
“Ultimately it’s also a vote to rubber-stamp an illegitimate process carried out against the wishes of much of the nation, and against the backdrop of a deadly criss that Senate Republicans have ignored as Americans have died.”
We cannot fit every critical issue that is at risk if Judge Barrett is confirmed in one tweet.
We will keep fighting. pic.twitter.com/T1zDSUUP9q
— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) October 26, 2020
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand read out a letter about the impact Amy Coney Barrett could have on LGBT+ rights.
Elsewhere, New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand hit out at the Republican party for failing to adequately represent the American people in a powerful speech that lasted almost an hour.
Gillibrand spoke about rising poverty rates and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable people, and said Republicans were working to impose an “extreme” conservative viewpoint on the public.
In a particularly emotive moment, Gillibrand read out a letter from a woman called Susan, from Amherst, Massachusetts, who said she was worried about the impact Barrett’s nomination would have on her lesbian daughter.
The woman said her daughter’s depression had worsened since Trump announced Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court.
“Judge Barrett’s LGBTQ rights record suggests she cannot be an impartial jurist on these matters. I’m deeply concerned about the future of the rights of the LGBTQ community,” the woman wrote.
What we need is a justice who is committed to protecting and upholding the rights of every American regardless of race, religion, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation
Hawaii senator Brian Schatz told the Senate that Barrett’s nomination would put “our hard fought progress in jeopardy”.
“The court will hear cases that test our values and test our commitment to equality,” Schatz said.
He said Barrett will “prioritise a handful of elite and wealthy Americans” and said it was “all but guaranteed that she will decide in favour of corporate power and the wealthy most of the time”.
“What we need is a justice who is committed to protecting and upholding the rights of every American regardless of race, religion, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation,” he added.
Democratic senators took to the floor following a vote on Sunday (October 25), which saw a 51-48 majority in favour of bringing Barrett’s nomination to a Senate vote.
Just two Republicans, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, voted against advancing the nomination of Barrett to the Supreme Court, the Associated Press reports.
However, Murkowski said on Saturday (October 24) that she would ultimately vote in favour of appointing Barrett to the Supreme Court and was solely voting against advancing her nomination while the race for the White House is ongoing.