Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer lambasted the Republican Party’s efforts to push through the Supreme Court confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett on Monday evening, warning his GOP colleagues that they may regret their actions “for a lot longer than they think.”
Schumer was referencing the words of then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2013 after the Democratic-controlled chamber eliminated the 60-vote rule on lower court and executive branch nominations. Republicans eliminated a similar threshold for Supreme Court appointments in 2017, requiring a simple majority instead.
“You’ll regret this, and you may regret it a lot sooner than you think,” McConnell said in 2013. He has since used the rule change to elevate three of President Donald Trump’s appointees to the Supreme Court.
In his floor speech Monday, Schumer said he’d change just one word of that sentiment: “My colleagues will regret this for a lot longer than they think.”
“Today … will go down as one of the darkest days in the 231-year history of the United States Senate,” the New York Democrat said. “Let the record show that tonight the Republican Senate majority decided to thwart the will of the people and confirm a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court in the middle of a presidential election after more than 60 million Americans have voted.”
Democratic leaders, including former President Barack Obama, have called on Schumer to eliminate the Senate filibuster should the party gain control of the chamber in the next election. The filibuster effectively mandates that 60 votes are needed to pass major legislation. Without it, Democrats could dramatically expand the potential for new policies.
Schumer has voiced openness to the idea in recent weeks.
“As for the filibuster, I’m not busting my chops to become majority leader to do very little or nothing done,” the New York senator said earlier this month. “We are going to get a whole lot done. And, as I’ve said, everything, everything is on the table.”
Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court on Monday by a vote of 52 to 48, with every Democrat and one Republican voting no. Her confirmation shifts the balance of power on the court deeply to the right, establishing a 6-3 conservative majority that could last for decades.
Monday’s Senate vote ends a weeks-long partisan clash and further solidifies Trump’s imprint on the American judiciary, regardless of the outcome of the Nov. 3 election. Democrats had argued against the appointment of a new justice to replace the seat left vacant following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but Republican vowed to push through Barrett’s nomination and rejected widespread calls of hypocrisy after they had refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland in February 2016.
Schumer said the political brinkmanship by the GOP will not be forgotten any time soon.
“History will record that by brute political force … this Republican majority confirmed a lifetime appointment on the eve of an election,” he said. “A justice who will alter the lives and freedoms of the American people while they stood in line to vote.”
“Here, at this late hour, at the end of this sordid chapter in the history of the Senate, the history of the Supreme Court, my deepest and greatest sadness is for the American people,” Schumer concluded.