Human and civil rights advocates joined with Democratic lawmakers Tuesday in reiterating their concerns about and opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the chamber will vote on President Donald Trump’s pick for the high court on Monday.
“With regard to the Supreme Court justice… we’ll be voting to confirm justice-to-be Barrett next Monday,” the Kentucky Republican said during a weekly press conference, according to The Hill. The outlet reported that “McConnell is expected to tee up Barrett’s nomination Friday, a day after the Judiciary Committee is expected to sign off on her nomination. The Senate will then hold a procedural vote Sunday. After that, senators could still debate her nomination for an additional 30 hours.”
Republicans are tearing apart our democracy piece by piece, setting us on the road for minority rule and authoritarian leadership. I am truly scared for the future of our democracy and equal rights under the law. https://t.co/196qTtvQO8
— Alissa Stollwerk (@AlissaStollwerk) October 20, 2020
Both McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)—who is locked in a tight race to hold onto his seat—have faced relentless criticism over how they have aided Trump’s effort to fill the spot left vacant by the September death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a right-wing nominee before Election Day.
Rights activists, lawmakers, and even thousands of lawyers across the country have warned that “rushing to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett will cause irreparable damage to the public’s faith in the Supreme Court, the rule of law, and our democracy.” They have also taken aim at Barrett, calling her a threat to fundamental rights.
Quite simply, the fate of the next 50 years of civil rights, the rule of law, and legitimate democracy is at stake.
We will fight this nominee with everything we can.
— Alliance for Justice (@AFJustice) October 20, 2020
During a virtual town hall on Barrett’s nomination Tuesday, Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, declared that McConnell and Graham “insult Justice Ginsburg’s legacy as they recklessly push through this Supreme Court nominee.” She accused the pair, plus the rest of the Senate GOP and the president, of refusing to listen to voters, noting that millions of Americans have already cast their ballots for the November general election.
Voters know “that healthcare is at stake,” Gupta said while also arguing that Barrett is unfit to serve on the nation’s highest court. “They know Roe v. Wade is at stake. They know that voting rights, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and so many more are at stake. It is truly reprehensible to move forward before the next president is installed.”
“If we’re to have courts that protect equal justice for everyone, we need a nominee who will defend our civil and human rights. Amy Coney Barrett is not that nominee.”
— The Leadership Conference (@civilrightsorg) October 20, 2020
Gupta’s group co-hosted the town hall with People For the American Way, Alliance for Justice, National Education Association, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund—which have all raised alarm about Barrett since Trump announced her as his third nominee for the court.
The event featured Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) as well as “individuals who would be harmed by Barrett’s confirmation to answer questions about what’s at stake with this Supreme Court nomination.”
Thank you Senator @PattyMurray, Senator @maziehirono, @SenatorCardin, and @SenBobCasey for joining today’s virtual town hall – and for fighting every day to #BlockBarrett’s confirmation to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court. #WeDissent pic.twitter.com/qPc490tWmH
— The Leadership Conference (@civilrightsorg) October 20, 2020
Critics of Barrett and the president also took to the pages of major national newspapers on Tuesday to warn about the consequences of the judge’s potential confirmation next week, just days before Trump faces off against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who is currently leading in several polls.
Washington Post senior political reporter Aaron Blake wrote that a 4-4 split on the high court Monday—which let stand a previous ruling allowing Pennsylvania election officials to count mail-in ballots that arrive up to three days after November 3—is “somewhat ominous for Democrats, in that it reinforces the impact Amy Coney Barrett’s ascension could have on the court, rather quickly.”
Responding to Blake’s piece, the advocacy organization Demand Justice tweeted that “Donald Trump has been crystal clear: he wants Amy Coney Barrett confirmed because he wants the Supreme Court to overturn the results of an election he loses.”
In an interview with USA Today before a Tuesday press conference about Barrett, Jim Obergefell—who became a civil rights activist after the landmark 2015 Supreme Court case bearing his name as the plaintiff—said that it is “very realistic for us to be concerned about what could happen to our right to marry or our families” if she is confirmed.
As USA Today detailed:
He and the man on the other side of the v, Richard Hodges, former director of the Ohio Department of Health, have developed a friendship.
“It is awfully fun to surprise people when they find out we’re friends,” Obergefell said.
More surprising: They share “the same commitment to equal rights for all,” Hodges said.
The two litigants teamed up at a press conference for Family Equality, an organization advocating for LGBTQ families. This time, they had an urgent message: That the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is rushed—and it’s “very threatening” to the LGBTQ community.
Both Demand Justice and Gupta shared the newspaper’s report on social media.
'Very threatening' for LGBTQ community: Same-sex marriage defendant, plaintiff join forces to oppose Amy Coney Barrett's nominationhttps://t.co/qhYXbSO5Iw
— Demand Justice (@WeDemandJustice) October 20, 2020
“THIS,” Gupta tweeted, directing her followers to the piece. “Jim Obergefell and Rick Hodges, the lead plaintiff and defendant in the 2015 Supreme Court case that made marriage equality the law of the land, came together today to OPPOSE Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation. #BlockBarrett.”