Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) proclaimed Friday that the Republican majority is steering the Senate into “one of the lowest moments” in the institution’s history.
Delivering an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, Schumer criticized Republicans for proceeding with Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, accusing them of acting in a hypocritical manner because of how they handled former President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland in 2016.
“The Republican majority is steering the Senate towards one of the lowest moments in its long history. The Republican majority is on the precipice of making a colossal and historic mistake, and the damage it does to this chamber will be irrevocable,” Schumer warned.
“The Republican majority is rushing to confirm a justice for a Republican president one week before Election Day. Consistency? Afraid not,” he said, referring to 2016. “You don’t have the right to argue consistency when you’re doing what you’re doing now.”
“In the process, the majority has trampled over norms, rules, standards, honor, values, any of them that could possibly stand in its monomaniacal pursuit to put someone on the court who will take away the rights of so many Americans,” he added:
We will not have business as usual here in the Senate while the Republicans use a sham process to force through President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee to rip away health care from millions. pic.twitter.com/cYS6c6d11g
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 23, 2020
While Garland’s appointment came during an election year, Republicans point to the fact that the government remained divided and that Obama did not have a chance of reelection.
“The Senate has not filled a vacancy arising in an election year when there was a divided government since 1888 — almost 130 years ago,” McConnell said in a speech in September while defending the GOP’s decision to move forward.
“As of then, only six prior times in American history had a Supreme Court vacancy arisen in a presidential election year, and the president sent a nomination that year to the Senate of the opposite party,” McConnell continued.
“The majority of those times, the outcome was exactly what happened in 2016. No confirmation,” he added.
On Friday, Schumer briefly forced a rare but brief closed-door session as part of what Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) described as a “last-ditch effort to convince Republicans to not send the Senate into this death spiral of power politics.”
However, his effort only lasted 15 minutes.
The full Senate is expected to confirm Barrett on Monday.