President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court is an extraordinary abuse of power. To begin with, it comes in the midst of a global pandemic and during an active outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, which has stricken the President, First Lady, numerous White House aides, and two Republican Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Indeed, this current outbreak has been tied to the White House celebration of Barrett’s nomination. Those are only the ones reported – the conditions were made worse as several Senators have stated that they do not plan to follow testing and quarantine protocols. It is against this backdrop that the Committee is considering the nominee for a lifetime position on the Supreme Court. The pandemic and outbreak in the Senate are alone enough for the Senate to stop any consideration of this nomination.
The nomination also comes in the midst of a general election. Millions of votes have already been cast by citizens across the country – over 9 million even before the hearings began. The nomination stands in stark contrast to Senator Mitch McConnell’s refusal to schedule a hearing for Judge Merrick Garland, who was nominated to replace the late Justice Scalia 237 days before the 2016 presidential election.
And the nomination comes with unprecedented speed, even before the late Justice Ginsburg was laid to rest and without enough time for a meaningful review of her record. The President has named that this unusual speed is required because he expects the Court to help decide the results of the upcoming election. This statement comes on top of the President’s statements threatening the legitimacy of the election. He has repeatedly suggested that he intends to challenge the results of the election and refuses to state that he will participate in a peaceful transfer power in the event he loses. At the same time, the President has persistently alleged voting irregularities unsubstantiated by evidence with the apparent intent of calling into question the integrity of the election. Further, he has sought to suppress the vote by encouraging his supporters (including white supremacist groups) to engage in voter intimidation at the polls. Thus, this nomination is part of an overarching approach that threatens our democracy.
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