In a passionate speech on the floor of the United States Senate on Sunday night, New Jersey’s Bob Menendez implored Republicans not to cut off debate on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
“What’s happening in the Senate is an obscene power grab by my Republican colleagues to bypass democracy and force the least popular, most extreme views of their party onto the American people, with no regard for the life and death consequences of their actions, said the Democratic senator. “This is a craven abuse of power that will ultimately inflict great cruelty on the American people. History is not going to forget it. And I think that someday, you are likely to regret it.”
Menendez warned the Senate to “think long and hard about the consequence of your actions for both the American people and for the future comity of this body,” saying the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice so close to a presidential election will have long-term consequences.
“You have twisted and distorted every rule and broken every norm to get your way just because you currently have the power to do so. That doesn’t make it right,” Menendez said. “You are poisoning the well of the Senate and flooding our nation with bad blood. And you have revealed yourselves to be so fearful of the will of the American people that you would confirm a Justice to the Supreme Court whose views are far outside the mainstream just days before the conclusion of the presidential election.”
The New Jersey Democrat spoke extensively about the Affordable Care Act, Roe v. Wade, and extended civil rights issues as being in danger following Barrett’s confirmation, calling out the Republican majority.
“Don’t you see? You are playing with fire. And you don’t seem to care that hundreds of millions of Americans – Americans you represent – are going to get burned,” Menendez said. “It’s not that you’re not hearing from people in your states afraid of what a future without access to health care looks like. It’s that you are not listening.”