Senate Democrats Hold News Conference on Judge Amy Coney Barrett Vote CSPAN October 22, 2020 9:09pm-9:54pm EDT
>> okay, everybody. thank you very much for coming, and thank you for joining us this morning. i am here to stand with my colleagues on the judiciary committee who are boycotting today's committee markup on the nomination of judge amy coney barrett to the supreme court. this is not a decision the members of the committee have taken lightly, but a republican majority have left us no choice. we are boycotting this illegitimate hearing. the nomination of amy coney barrett is the most illegitimate process i have ever witnessed in the senate, and her potential confirmation will have dire, dire consequences for the senate, for the supreme court,
and our entire country for generations to come. the senate republican majority is conducting the most rushed, partisan and least legitimate nomination to the supreme court in the nation's history. her potential confirmation will have dire consequences for the senate, for the supreme court, and our entire country for generations to come. the senate majority is conducting the most rushed, partisan and least legitimate process in the long history of the supreme court nominations. democrats will not lend a single ounce of legitimacy to the sham
vote in the judiciary committee. democrats will not lend a single ounce of legitimacy to this hearing. we are voting with our feet. we are banding together, and we are standing against this unprecedented mad rush to jam through a supreme court nomination just days before an election. today the seats of democratic members in the committee will remain empty. instead, they will be filled by reminders of what is ultimately at stake. photos of americans whose lives will be turned upside down if a single, if a justice barrett delivers the decisive vote to secure the long-held republican
goal of destroying the affordable care act, stripping healthcare and pre-existing conditions for millions of americans. you can imagine alongside their faces the faces of women who cherish the right to make their own private medical decisions. the faces of americans who want to marry who they love and not be fired for who they are. the faces of american workers breaking their backs to make ends meet and want their union to help them get a better wage. the faces of young people who know that it's in peril in their lifetimes. the bottom line is very simple. the senate should not be moving towards this nomination. to call the process illegitimate is actually being too kind but
the chair man has broken the rules of the committee to move forward with a vote on judge barrett anyway. the rules require two members of the minority to be present to vote anyone out of committee, but the chair man graham just steamrolled over them just like the republican majority has steamrolled over principles, fairness, honesty and decency in their rush to confirm a justice. the united states senate has never, never considered a supreme court justice this close to a national presidential election day especially one in which tens of millions of americans have already voted. the american people oppose this and can see the hypocrisy in
real-time. it is a hallmark of democracy that might should not make right but republicans are blatantly ignoring this principle. the american people know what's going on. they are not fooled. they know this process is a sham, a power grab and it's no mystery why they are doing it. this is the culmination of a decades long effort to skew the court to the far right. what republicans and far right cannot accomplish through the legislature and trying to accomplish through the judiciary senate republicans tried and failed to repeal the affordable care act so president trump and republican attorneys generals are suing to eliminate the law in court, and now if senate republicans confirm judge barrett, someone we know is critical of decisions of
opposing the aca, they could be on the brink of achieving their goal. that is what this is all about. the american people who are voting right now by tens of millions are not fooled and they know what's at stake. the rights if barrett is confirmed. this nomination should not go forward. senator feinstein. [background chanting] >> good morning. last week committee rules were broken and the republicans broke the rules again by proceeding today without any democrats present. all along, democrats have objected to proceeding on this
nomination in the middle of an election. 40 million americans have already voted, and we are just 12 days from an election. in 2016, the republican senate against filing a supreme court vacancy in an election year where they brought president obama's nominee for ten months before that election. then in 2016, republicans said it was necessary to hold the nomination until after the election in order to give the american people a voice at the ballot box, specifically majority leader mcconnell said this, and i quote. the american people should have a voice in the selection of the next supreme court justice, therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a
new president, and quote. what is false for the goose is false for the gander. now, however, republicans are preceding regardless. last week democrats participated in a nomination hearing because we wanted to show what was at stake for america if amy coney barrett is confirmed. we made our case about risks to affordable cares, especially the affordable care act. we protected freedom, the right to vote and equality for all. we believe that most the affordable care act and roe v wade could be lost. the democratic members of the judiciary committee did not have the votes to defeat judge barrett in committee.
at that point, there was no further reason to participate in a committee process that has been used to rush this nominee forward. i will be voting against judge barrett ojudgebarrett on the fl. but between now and then, democrats of this committee will continue to make the case about what is at stake for the american people if judge barrett is confirmed. i now would be pleasured to welcome my friend, senator patrick leahy. [background chanting] >> thank you. senator schumer and senator feinstein pointed out this hearing [inaudible] and we saw again what just happened. moments ago at the hearing room across the street, republicans
broke committee rules in many ways even worse than that, they broke their word for the confirmation process. it's become a caricature. [inaudible] while the republicans announce a nominee even before justice ginsburg was buried. they see an opportunity to accomplish what they failed to accomplish in congress. that includes making voting a second class right. republicans have launched an all-out war on voting. last night they were successful. the supreme court voted 5-32 block curbside voting in alabama during the pandemic. and earlier this week, when the
courts put forth-for the right to vote by mail. republicans can hear you. but they sure that they will not lose again when they try to stop. time and time again, the president has said he needs judge barrett on the bench when he raises his outrageous baseless claims about the mail-in ballots. another reason, and a number of republicans on the senate committee said this is the entire reason they need her confirmed now before the election, president trump said he has to have a nominee and supreme court justice who will do what he wants her to do. it doesn't bode well that during
the hearing, judge barrett refused to stand up for the most basic tenet democracy, to uphold the constitution contemplates peaceful transfer of power. she refused to acknowledge that voter discrimination and she refused to recuse herself from any election dispute. make no mistake, president trump was listening and he sees a green light to do whatever he wants. we need to keep fighting this nomination. we need to do everything we can to protect our democracy [inaudible] it's past the house. the right to vote, that means
[inaudible] there ithere's nothing more impt for a government if it claims to be for the people, by the people, for the people, not by a dictatorship. senator durbin. >> today on the floor of the united states senate, we are discussing a supreme court vacancy. we should be talking about another topic. america is in the throes of the deadliest pandemic and more than a century. 222,000 americans have died. many states are reporting record numbers of infections and deaths. in my state of illinois, the governor has recently called on the restaurants and the four
major counties surrounding chicago to close because infection rates are out of control. it's personal. a friend of mine feeling ill last saturday told her daughter i need to go to the hospital. she went to the first hospital near her and was turned away because there was no room. she went to the second hospital. turned away, no room. finally, admitted at the third hospital. she passed away on tuesday morning. we have reached the point now, her daughter said, where i couldn't even get mom into the very best hospital. that is the state of america today. you would never know it if you listened to the debate on the floor of the united states senate, because senator mcconnell and the republicans believe the player ready for america is their political move to fill this vacancy on the supreme court. we should be passing a massive
covid-19 relief bill that would include testing, money for hospitals and clinics, money for schools, unemployment insurance, help for small businesses, helpd for the restaurant industry, the airline industry and state and local governments. but senator mitch mcconnell has no time for that. he has time only for the political agenda no time for the coronavirus and the economy and no time for them to personally attend negotiations to try to come up with a massive covid-19 relief bill to me to this national challenge. senator mcconnell and the republicans have only one priority. it is political. they need to reverse the position when they denied the opportunity to fill the vacancy on the supreme court. they need to deny the american
people a voice in this election process. they need to force through this nomination of amy coney barrett. millions of americans watched the senate judiciary committee last week. they could draw their own conclusions. i will tell you mine. what i want to know is what she has in her heart. what we learned was she did not have the compassion for 23 million americans who are wee depending on the affordable care act to provide some refuge and confidence in the nation of the pandemic. she didn't have the courage to stand up to president trump and say she wouldn't be when it came to an election contest, and she didn't have a basic commitment to the pillars of modern law in
america. that was including the rights of women, including families against racism and pillars including marriage equality, privacy for every american citizen, and most importantly, just a few days before this election, no commitment when it came to the voting rights in america. look every day as the news reports of people standing in the lines waiting for ten hours to vote. that is shameful in a country that claims to be a democracy with opportunity for all. so we come to you today to make it clear. we could not be party to this senate judiciary committee action across the street this morning. it was a violation of the committee law and committee rules, but more importantly, it was in violation of fair play. we believe the american people should have the last words in filling the supreme court vacancy and they will have the
last word on november 3rd. the efforts by senator mcconnell to ignore this pandemic as it moves forward in this nomination are inconsistent with the basic principles of this country and that is why the members of the committee decided not to participate. i now introduce senator. >> they seem to have bought their way to the table at which united states supreme court justices are selected for the third time. for the third time, big anonymous donors have written checks of $15 billion and higher to pay for the campaign and confirmation of the selected
justices. and for the third time, the republican colleagues have broken every rule, every norm of the senate including one they set themselves, in order to deliver for the anonymous donors and the same institution into a pantomime court that goes through the motions of and adjudication but delivering the goods for the donors. this isn't over. with that, let me turn it over to the distinguished senator klobuchar. [background chanting]
>> thank you, everyone. this is a justice ginsburg dissent caller and i think we should not forget what her last fervent wish was and that is that the winner of the election, the next president would pick her successor. that was with the precedent set by our republican colleagues just a few years ago. that is what this is about. they have engaged in a sham in violating their own precedent and not listening to the words of the great justice ginsburg. justice ginsburg said that her defense were blueprints for the future. as a rabbi noted in this great capital, they were not crimes of defeat.
they were blueprints for the future. and that is what is at stake in this election, because we can make our own blueprints for the future. we can make the blueprints by voting. while the republicans are railing through the justice and spending the whole weekend on that, what should we be doing the moms and dads that are trying to teach first graders how to use a mute button and the seniors like my dad who got covid who i visited through a glass door not knowing if it was going to be the last time i saw him at 92-years-old and he looks so small in that room people got
really sick and i didn't think he was going to make it home. this is personal for everyone out there. no matter where you come down on this, this is personal. and this republican majority, and this president have chosen to make as a closing argument that they are going to push through a nominee whose record shows us just where she's going to come out on so many things. the affordable care act is on the ballot. voting is on the ballot, women's rights are on the ballot, and this is our moment.
[background chanting] we are shrouded in fog and it isn't clear so let us help clear it up because sometimes the talk of the votes and the committee's and filibusters here in the capital and the senate is a little hazy for the american people and sometimes it is tough to follow. but while we are here on the steps and what this is all about, it's all about what is on the ballot and what is on the docket. on the agenda this morning, on the senate judiciary committee was moving the nomination of judge barrett to the floor of the senate. and as my colleague have said now many times, the only way the republican majority was able to
do this was by breaking the rules of the committee. we were not there and we were not part of that vote because after the confirmation hearings had happened, it is abundantly clear that in the middle of a pandemic, where 8 million americans have been infected and more than 220,000 have lost their lives, we should instead be negotiating a robust package of pandemic relief. the republicans have insisted on breaking the examples that they set just four years ago of refusing to move a qualified nominee in this election. well, folks, we are in the midst of an election. tens of millions of americans are already voting. and we participated in the hearing so that we could ask judge barrett, so that we could get clear for the american people what is on the ballot and what is on the docket. like all of us, i brought a picture of a real person for
whom the consequences of what is on the docket are very real. just a week after the election, the supreme court will hear another constitutional challenge to the affordable care act long settled eight years ago. and my case carried from middletown with a pre-existing condition a small business owner, someone who can't get access for quality affordable healthcare if the affordable care act is overturned. if i ask judge barrett will you recuse yourself if this unprecedented process results in putting you in that court just in time to decide cases that arise from this election, she hemmed and hauled she would not commit to recusing herself from a decision that would handle the election to donald trump. why is this even an issue?
because what donald trump, president trump himself has said, over and over president trumpresidenttrump has said i wd through said that a judge can be on the court and overturn the aca. i want her rushed through so she can decide the election. every member of the republican majority and the judiciary committee and in this capital behind me has over and over voted to overturn the affordable care act. this isn't about what judge barrett said in her confirmation hearings because she mostly wouldn't answer. it's about what we all know. it's on the agenda. it's on the ballot and it's on the docket. i asked judge barrett if she would simply confirm as several conservative justices before her have that the right to privacy, first recognizing griswold versus connecticut decades ago in 1965, was settled, was safe,
was secure. it was that sort of right that americans can know is not on the docket and is not up for reconsideration. and unlike justices both progressive and conservative before her, she would not say so. why does that concern me? because the writings and the record show a judge willing to go further than justice scalia who she claimed as a mentor and a model and to reach back and reconsider and possibly overturn the decisions that she and other conservative justices think were wrongly decided. what does that mean might be on the docket? the whole line of cases that recognize privacy. the rights to love, the right to marry. america decided five years ago, and don't listen to me, justice alito and thomas just weeks ago raised their hand and said we should look back and reconsider. so, folks, they may be shrouded
right now, but i hope i've made it clear and all the democrats standing behind me. we were not over in the judiciary committee markup this morning because we wanted to be clear what was on the agenda, what is on the docket, what is on the ballot. this is personal. it's about long settled rights for millions and millions of americans. in the middle of this pandemic, we should not be racing for the republican to confirm this parties nominee whose putting at risk hundreds of cases. we should be delivering relief to the american people. thank you and with that i would love to hand this over to senator blumenthal of connecticut. >> [background chanting] >> thank you, senator coons. first of all, my thanks to senator schumer and senator feinstein for their leadership. make no mistake, we are 100%
unified. if it sounds like we are repeating each other's point, it's not due to the lack of originality. it's a sign of our unity and determination to continue. now i listen to my republican colleagues during a meeting today. their case for moving judge barrett forward was to attack democrats. it was full of violent anger and grievance against democrats. they are running away from the issue, from the effect of the nomination to take away rights to health care for millions of americans. rights to gun violence prevention, rights to safety and
in fact billions with pre-existing conditions will be at risk because of this nomination if it is confirmed. but watching them in that committee room where real people are posters that we brought into the hearing room, real people whose lives may be decimated by rulings on the aca to strike it down. real women who will lose control over when and how they have children, because this nominee has said in fact is the legacy of roe v wade is on barrett. she's aligned herself with
groups that would criminalize in vitro fertilization. she has shown by her legal position that she would overturn roe v wade. and in fact, she has asked the trump test to strike down the aca, overturn roe v wade. that is the reason she wouldn't answer our questions. she's already answered those questions in the vetting and screening white -- right-wing groups that have given her the pack. i clerked for him shortly after he did it and we taught them that this issue was solved,
privacy was guaranteed and yet today we are still fighting the issue that protects women's rights. we owe it to them and all americans to keep up this fight because we cannot go back to the time when abortion was banned and when contraception was criminalized. we need to move forward. i've heard from those americans who've been watching, those that we brought into the hearing room, the americans who are scared and angry. i've been listening to people across connecticut who feel fundamental rights may be gone. on the exercise of power the american people can do what they want on november 3rd.
we are not done. we will continue to fight this nomination. we will have votes ahead and i hope my colleague will be held accountable for disregarding the will of the american people who want their voice heard so the next president and senate will choose the next justice and i am now happy to yield to my great colleague from hawaii, senator hirono. [background chanting] >> thank you. i am very committed to joining my colleagues on other protests on what is happening with the nominee. these are not normal times when we have mitch mcconnell and senate republicans priorities so screwed up in the middle of a pandemic we cannot work on a bill that helps people and you
are pushing through a nominee. it becomes a rhetorical question. we all know that amy coney barrett presents a danger to the affordable care act. november 10th when the republicans get their way she will be sitting there in the court to hear the case. she's let it known she thinks justice roberts was wrong when he upheld the law so if she were in that court she would have struck it down then. a present danger to so many of the rights of ruth bader ginsburg. it wasn't long ago when we lost her. have we forgotten all the things she thought for, equal rights for women, access to affordable care, all these rights ruth
bader ginsburg fought for and that she actually listened to the people who would be impacted by the court's decision. i want to focus on one of these rights, lgbtq. two supreme court justices have already signaled why don't we revisit this because there is no constitutional basis for same-sex marriage. justice alito and thomas, they are good at signaling what they would like him the chance to overturn. if she aligned herself with justice scalia who wrote all the major decisions against lgbtq rights. you combine the fact that she aligns herself with a right-wing conservative wing of the supreme
court. very much in line with her mentor, justice scalia. aligned that with her view of the president where she says it is up to every justice to decide for herself what the constitution requires and if a president doesn't align with that that is tha at roe v wade t risk and that is why so many of the rights and protections ruth bader ginsburg spent her time on the supreme court fighting for our * and that's why i stand here with my colleagues in protest of the nominee. there are 40 million people that have already voted. they are listening. now i will turn to my good friend, cory booker.
>> i stand with my colleagues in a firm commitment to some of the best of the american values and tactics. i stand with my colleagues in the commitment to boycott what is unacceptable. we stand resolute and in lockstep with tens of millions of american voters of all backgrounds and persuasions and political parties and the firm belief what the senate republicans are doing right now is wrong. they are violating the processes and the rules and conscience and their own words. it is a difficult thing to
witness such violence against your own words. but i stand also with my colleagues in this resolute firm belief that we will continue to fight. even though we stand at a point where in the midst of a pandemic we are literally walking through the valley of a shadow of death in the times the country needs the best of us, we've fallen into a partisanship that is failing us instead of coming together to claim the high ground we are descending into the low ground in quicksand of a power grab that will go down in history as one of the darker moments of this institution. so today i stand with my colleagues and i can lean upon the truth of our history. it hasn't been absent of the
wrongs of this institution to that one. i stand with them in an understanding that in this great nation in america has shown an extraordinary alchemy, the ability to turn to the dark days and nights of hope and the ability to turn wrongs into pathways of redemption, the ability to take tragic defeat, new possibilities for greater victories and so today i join my colleagues in a great tradition of noncooperation and boycott these proceedings but i also join like so many of our ancestors did and say resolutely