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'Knives Out on SCOTUS': Patriotic Millionaires Open Letter Pushes Senate Dems to Fight 'Nakedly Illegitimate' Nomination Attempt

Citing Trump's signals that he may try to remain in office regardless of the election results, the group tells lawmakers, "to be clear, you no longer have the option to stand idly by and wait for things to 'play out.'"

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks as Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) looks on during a news conference in front of the U.S. Capitol September 22, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Senate Democrats discussed GOP efforts to confirm a new justice to the Supreme Court to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks as Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) looks on during a news conference in front of the U.S. Capitol September 22, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Senate Democrats discussed GOP efforts to confirm a new justice to the Supreme Court to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Ahead of reporting Friday that President Donald Trump has selected Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Patriotic Millionaires launched a "Knives Out on SCOTUS" campaign pressuring Senate Democrats to fight back against "morally-bankrupt Republican hypocrites" in the chamber who are trying to "hand a far-right ideologue a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court just days before the most divisive and consequential election in American history."

The group's open letter, which Americans are urged to sign, comes after a week of mobilizing in response to Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell (R-Ky.) vowing after Ginsburg's death that they were committed to nominating and voting on her replacement before November 3. The letter demands that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and members of the Democratic Caucus "use every possible procedural tool" at their disposal "to disrupt and delay this public fraud."

"There is a very narrow, but theoretically possible path to blocking this nomination completely," said Erica Payne, founder and president of the Patriotic Millionaires. "Mitch has much less control over his caucus than his public posturing would suggest. If Senate Democrats stand up and stand together, they will extract a pound of flesh from every Republican senator up this cycle, and that would be a beautiful thing."

The letter specifically suggests that caucus members boycott the confirmation hearings, block the unanimous consent agreements that set the daily schedule and the terms of conduct for Senate business, and repeatedly force Republicans to produce the quorum of 51 senators necessary to conduct chamber business on their own.

"This unfortunate reality demands that you embrace the inescapable moral and constitutional obligation you have to use every power at your disposal to brand this corrupt process as the illegitimate farce it is and to discredit permanently the judicial fitness of any nominee who agrees to be a part of it," the letter declares. "Any nominee willing to be considered or confirmed by this sham process is definitionally unfit to serve in the United States Supreme Court."

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Condemning GOP senators as "power-hungry" and subservient to billionaire political benefactors, the letter adds that "each of you must decide if you will be the steadfast champions of democracy this nation deserves or if you will roll over and take it from an opponent who will trample the tatters of our democracy to ensure our citizens are subject to their nihilistic minority rule in perpetuity."

Ginsburg's death, McConnell's refusal to follow the rules for Supreme Court nominees he made up in 2016, and Trump's signaling that he may refuse to accept the outcome of the general election if he loses to Democratic nominee Joe Biden have added fuel to advocacy groups' calls for voters who can to take advantage of early in-person and mail-in voting—which is expected to be more popular this year because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and is already underway in some states.

"With early voting already started, we are not just approaching an election, we are in the middle of one. This process is nakedly illegitimate, and it should be treated as such," said Morris Pearl, chair of the Patriotic Millionaires. "Senate Republicans have made their allegiance to their billionaire donors clear. Now Senate Democrats have to decide if they will defend the American people's right to self-governance or if they will roll over and allow Republicans to trample the remaining tatters of our democracy."

"If they participate in any way in this process and if they do not do everything in their power to deny this process legitimacy," Pearl added of the chamber's Democrats, "they are in effect aiding and abetting the president in the greatest fraud perpetrated on the American people in the last 100 years."

Given the president's suggestion that he will try to remain in office regardless of the election results, the group's letter tells Democratic senators: "To be clear, you no longer have the option to stand idly by and wait for things to 'play out.'"

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