Washington, D.C.— Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding Senate Republicans’ hasty and unprecedented efforts to ram through a Supreme Court Justice nomination this close to an election in order to reverse the late Justice Ginsburg’s legacy and finally get achieve their goal to terminate the Affordable Care Act and strip Americans of their healthcare coverage. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
In 2016, Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans held a Supreme Court vacancy open for nearly a year on the supposed principle that “the American people should have a voice in selecting their next Supreme Court Justice.”
Now, 41 days before a national election in which we might have a new president, Leader McConnell cannot even mention his supposed “principle.” Another speech on the floor today—never mentioned. Never mentioned. And all the sophistry and diversionary arguments—they’re getting more and more like President Trump—doesn’t undo the fact that he totally reversed himself, and the American people know it. And the overwhelming majority of Americans want us to wait until a new president is elected before we choose a Supreme Court Justice.
Yesterday, the presiding officer confirmed the Senate has never—never—confirmed a Supreme Court nominee this close to the election. Again, all the history, all the obfuscation, all the irrelevant facts don’t deny it.
We hear a lot of talking points from the other side. Some twisted readings of precedent. But facing a simple question—has there been a Senate precedent for confirming a Justice this close to an election, between July and Election Day—the presiding officer confirmed that “no such precedent exists.”
Leader McConnell and the Republican majority are not following their supposed principle, and they’re not following precedent. This is nothing more than an exercise in brute force.
And it may very well destroy the already-waning sense of comity and collegiality in the Senate, once hallmarks of this great chamber. It may have done an end to it, unfortunately and sadly.
And for what? Why do we—why go to such lengths to ram through a Justice mere weeks before an election—making a complete mockery of their previous position?
Because this is the only way for Republicans to achieve their radical, right-wing agenda that the public will abhor. Unable to get their legislative agenda passed through Congress, they have to rely on the courts, to erode, bit by bit, the rights that the American people now enjoy.
Republicans say, Oh, that’s not true, they’re hysterical. They’re just speculating. Trying to scare voters.
But this is what the president has said: he wants to nominate a justice who will “terminate” the Affordable Care Act. His administration is right now suing in court, right now, to invalidate the law. A case that will be heard one week after the election. A case that could rip away health care from tens of millions of Americans in the middle of a pandemic. And Leader McConnell says this is “hysterical.”
Go tell a mother or father whose son or daughter has cancer and they can't get insurance because they no longer have the protection, that that is hysterical. Shame.
This is real stuff. This is not speculation. There is a court suit before the Supreme Court right now on this issue.
Speculation? Was it not President Trump who said that women should be punished for having an abortion?
Was it not the Republican majority who confirmed a majority of judges to federal bench with disturbing views on a woman’s right to choose?
Was it not the Republican leader who has admitted that he hopes to “pick away” at women’s rights through the courts?
What about workers’ rights, what about voting rights? The Supreme Court, even with Justice Ginsburg, slowly eroded workers’ rights in the Janus case, and voting rights in Shelby County case, opening the door for a flood of voter suppression efforts.
Imagine, just imagine America, what another right-wing justice, a solid 6-3 majority, would mean for a Court that is already eroded your rights.
This is not speculation. Oh no. This is about the right and freedom that Americans hold dear. It’s no wonder, it’s no wonder that President Trump and Senate Republicans are afraid to test this in an election, are so eager to rush this nomination through.