Democrats are reportedly considering a plan to boycott upcoming Senate Supreme Court confirmation hearings and at least two Democratic Senators — Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono and Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal — say they will not meet with nominee Amy Coney Barrett because it would “legitimize” President Donald Trump’s decision to kick off a nomination process just weeks from a presidential election.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Democratic senators are “mapping out how they will wield their limited procedural weapons in the fight over President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee” and are “grappling with a central question: How much legitimacy do they give his candidate?”
“With little power to actually derail Trump’s pick, Democrats are coming under considerable pressure from their activist base to use every tactic at their disposal to not just throw sand in the gears of the confirmation fight, but to portray the consideration of expected nominee Amy Coney Barrett as a farce that shouldn’t even occur,” the outlet notes.
Over the last week, Democrats have tried a variety of approaches, from attacking Republicans as “hypocrites” for nominating a new jurist to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — even though at this point, Republicans control both the White House and the Senate and it is possible the president will shortly earn an additional term — to attacking Amy Coney Barrett for her large family, adopted children, and faith community.
Sunday morning, Democratic leaders tried again to redirect the argument, focusing instead on upcoming oral arguments questioning the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, scheduled to take place at the start of the Supreme Court’s next term.
Most Democrats — like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — are relying on the latter argument to swing voters, but at least two Senators, Hirono and Blumenthal, told media Saturday that they have no plans to “legitimize” Coney Barrett and will not even accept a casual meeting with the nominee, per Fox News.
“If Judge Barrett’s views become law, hundreds of millions of Americans living w/pre-existing conditions would lose access to their health care. In the middle of a pandemic, rushing confirmation of an extreme jurist who will decimate health care is unconscionable,” Blumenthal said on Twitter. “I will refuse to treat this process as legitimate & will not meet with Judge Amy Coney Barrett.”
Hirono, at least, left open the possibility of questioning Barrett during a Senate confirmation hearing: “I will not be meeting with her, I will take the opportunity to question her when she is under oath.”
After a contentious week, however, Republicans are unlikely to take Democrats’ feelings into consideration. As of Sunday, the GOP has enough votes to pass Barrett out of committee and approve her nomination on the Senate floor without Democratic defections. Republicans can afford at least three defections from their own party before Vice President Mike Pence is forced to cast a tie-breaking vote.
As the Daily Wire reported Saturday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says the Senate plans to bring Barrett’s nomination to the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 12.
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