Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee plan to boycott Thursday’s committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination as a protest against Republican efforts to rush her through before the election.
The plan hasn’t been finalized yet, according to a Democratic aide, but Democrats are preparing to fill their empty seats with poster-sized photos of people who would be hurt by Barrett potentially casting a deciding vote against the Affordable Care Act. These would be the same pictures of people Democrats had on display during Barrett’s confirmation hearing last week.
Democrats also intend to hold two press conferences to push back on Barrett’s confirmation ― one on the Capitol steps and one on the Supreme Court steps. They will go to one or both of these pressers during the committee vote, according to the Democratic aide.
“Throughout the hearings last week, committee Democrats demonstrated the damage a Justice Barrett would do – to health care, reproductive freedoms, the ability to vote, and other core rights that Americans cherish. We will not grant this process any further legitimacy by participating in a committee markup of this nomination just twelve days before the culmination of an election that is already underway,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and his caucus said in a statement Wednesday afternoon, after HuffPost’s story went up.
A boycott will delight progressives, who have been clamoring for a big fight by Democrats over Barrett’s confirmation. It won’t stop Republicans from advancing Barrett’s nomination, though.
Feinstein has come under particular criticism and scrutiny from her own party. She undercut Democrats’ message that the proceedings were a “sham” and “illegitimate” by praising both Barrett and committee chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
“This has been one of the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in,” Feinstein said at the conclusion of the hearings last week. “It leaves one with a lot of hopes, a lot of questions and even some ideas perhaps of good bipartisan legislation we can put together.”
Both NARAL Pro-Choice America and Demand Justice, a progressive judicial advocacy group, called on the party to replace Feinstein as the top Democrat on the committee.
Schumer also said he had “a long and serious talk” with her but refused to give more details.
Asked Wednesday what would happen if Democrats don’t show up to Barrett’s hearing, Graham said, “We’ll vote the nominee out.”
This story has been updated with comment from Schumer.
Igor Bobic and Amanda Terkel contributed reporting to this story.