Democrats planning 30-hour ‘digital filibuster’ to try to stop Amy Coney Barrett being confirmed
The Senate will vote on Sunday to send the federal judge’s nomination to a full vote, which will be held on Monday.
With little remaining hope of blocking her confirmation to the court, and her replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Democrats have announced a symbolic show of defiance.
Unlike an actual filibuster, which slows proceedings and can make an unpopular bill run out of time and therefore be blocked, the digital filibuster will not affect the outcome.
It will serve instead as a reminder of the strong sentiment against her confirmation.
Democrats feel that the appointment should not be made so close to the election, during a campaign, and have tried everything possible to prevent her confirmation – from boycotting sessions in the Senate to seeking to tie their votes to a coronavirus relief bill.
The digital filibuster on Sunday, organised by the liberal nonprofit People for the American Way, was scheduled to begin at 1pm.
Organisers say that for 30 hours they “will post videos from advocates and personal storytellers every hour to tell senators to reject the nomination of Barrett”.
They will hold a digital rally, with recorded remarks from Democrat senators including Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Amy Klobuchar, and leaders of at least 20 national organisations against the confirmation of Ms Barrett — who organisers say “poses a unique threat to health care, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and other critical legal rights and protections.”
On Saturday Mrs Barrett’s lifetime appointment to the court was all but guaranteed following the decision of Lisa Murkowski, a Republican senator for Alaska, to back her candidacy.
Mrs Murkowski had argued, like the Democrats, that the nomination should not take place so soon to an election. She said she was relenting, given Mrs Barrett’s sterling qualifications.
Democrats were furious earlier in the week after Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, repeatedly and effusively praised Mrs Barrett’s legal expertise.
She was accused of “normalising” the conservative judge’s confirmation hearings.
Mr Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, tried repeatedly to derail proceedings, holding a closed-door session to appeal to the Republicans in private, and then when that failed organising a boycott of hearings, and attempting to lump coronavirus relief into the discussions.
Their efforts have all been in vain, and Mrs Barrett looks highly likely to take up her seat this week – ahead of the election.
Her appointment is a triumph for Mitch McConnell, who has made appointing conservative judges his number one priority.
It also is hoped by Republicans to give an electoral boost to Donald Trump, with only days until the country goes to the polls.