Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) held the Senate floor overnight from Tuesday into Wednesday, talking for more than 15 hours about his opposition to Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
Merkley’s talk-a-thon, which began around 6:45pm Tuesday, ended after 10:00am Wednesday. Votes on Gorsuch, who faces a Democratic filibuster, are expected to begin Thursday. Republican leaders—who blockaded former President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, for 10 months—have vowed to confirm Gorsuch on Friday, before leaving for Easter recess.
“By stealing a Supreme Court seat for the first time in American history, the Senate is undermining the court and the rule of law, and turning the highest court in the land into a political committee,” Merkley wrote on his Facebook page. “This assault on our democracy demands as robust a resistance as we can possibly mount.”
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The former triathlete explained further as his all-nighter began: “The majority team in this chamber decided to steal a Supreme Court seat… The majority said, ‘We intend to pack the court of the United States of America.’ It was a warfare tactic of partisanship.”
From there, Merkley’s overnight resistance covered topics ranging from Gorsuch’s anti-worker and anti-woman court decisions to the “premature” nature of confirming a lifetime appointment while the investigations are underway into ties between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign. He cited Politico‘s reporting from Tuesday that Gorsuch plagiarized language from a law journal for his book published in 2006, and talked about the federal judge’s ties to “secretive billionaire” Philip F. Anschutz, revealed last month by the New York Times. He delved into how Gorsuch could impact efforts to protect the environment and “lamented creeping commercialism and an erosion of civic participation,” according to the Times.
Over the course of the verbal marathon, Merkley was cheered on by several of his Senate colleagues.
Clips of Merkley’s effort can be watched below:
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