Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

McConnell Amy Coney Barrett

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) meets with Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, on September 29, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)

'This Is Not Normal': McConnell Keeps Senate in Session Over Weekend to Shut Down Debate on Barrett, Set Stage for Confirmation Vote

Sen. Jeff Merkley warned that Republicans "are hellbent on ramming through this nomination even if it means torching Senate's traditions, rules, and integrity."

Jake Johnson

Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is keeping the U.S. Senate in session over the weekend in an effort to speedily shut down debate on Amy Coney Barrett and set the stage for the right-wing judge's confirmation to the Supreme Court as early as Monday, just eight days before the November presidential election.

The rare weekend session—something McConnell would not hold to work on desperately needed coronavirus relief—is scheduled to begin at noon on Saturday after the Kentucky Republican filed cloture for Barrett's dark money-backed nomination Friday afternoon. A procedural vote to end debate on Barrett's nomination is set to take place Sunday, teeing up a Monday confirmation vote that is expected to fall largely along party lines.

"This is not normal," tweeted Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, one of the many civil rights groups opposed to Barrett's confirmation. "McConnell is keeping the Senate in session all weekend to rush through Barrett nomination while 52 million people have already voted and as the American people are struggling amid the pandemic. Prioritizing power over people."

Watch the Senate session live:

McConnell's moves paving the way for a final vote on Barrett came just a day after Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved President Donald Trump's high court nominee during a Thursday hearing boycotted by Democrats. Like much of the process that preceded it, the vote Thursday violated committee rules requiring the presence of at least two members of the minority party.

"Republicans just voted Amy Coney Barrett out of committee with no Democrats present. This is further proof that the entire process is an illegitimate sham," Meagan Hatcher Mays, director of democracy policy at advocacy group Indivisible, said in a statement following the vote.

"This nominee refused to say whether or not climate change is real," Mays continued. "She refused to say whether abortion is constitutional. She refused to say whether the ACA is the law of the land. She wouldn't even say whether or not the president can unilaterally change the date of the election. (He can't.) Amy Coney Barrett is an extremist who has no business replacing RBG, and has no business serving on the Supreme Court at all."

In a speech on the Senate floor Friday, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that "by rushing this nomination through the Senate only eight days before a national election, after 50 million Americans have already voted, the Republican majority is steering the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the country in a very dangerous direction."

Schumer proceeded to force the Senate into a closed-door session without cameras or members of the press present in order to "talk face to face about what this might mean for the country." Republicans emerged from the brief session completely undeterred from plowing ahead Barrett's confirmation just ahead of the election.

"As you likely figured out, this didn't work," tweeted Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). "Republicans had no interest in working this out in order to save the Senate. So after a 30 minute break at a crappy rest stop, we are back on the McConnell superhighway to the destruction of the Senate."

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) echoed Murphy, saying that while he can't discuss what specifically was said during the closed session, "you can tell from how briefly we were in there that my GOP colleagues are hellbent on ramming through this nomination even if it means torching Senate's traditions, rules, and integrity."

"Those who care about our country are in anguish," Merkley added. "SCOTUS being corrupted and delegitimized before our eyes. Senate just voted to proceed on Barrett, and McConnell immediately moved to close debate. So much for coverage for preexisting conditions."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Green Groups Say Ruptured Oil Pipeline Should Be Scrapped—Not Repaired

"We need to quickly phase out all dangerous, failing offshore oil infrastructure, not issue more permits that invite the next disaster," said one campaigner.

Julia Conley ·


Oxfam Warns World Bank 'Could Be Significantly Overstating' Climate Spending

"It is alarming―at a time when climate change is driving such damage and poverty and hunger around the world―that we could find so little clarity about the quality and quantity of these financial flows."

Jessica Corbett ·


Brazilians Elect Three Transgender Progressives to Congress

"The struggle does not stop here, but continues and grows from that moment," said one victorious candidate. "Now my commitment is to elect Lula president at the end of October and I call on all my voters to do the same!"

Brett Wilkins ·


Supreme Court Gives Biden DOJ a Chance to Prove Its Commitment to Climate Justice

"Doubling down on the department's Trump-era support of Big Oil would constitute a betrayal," said one climate organization.

Jake Johnson ·


New Reporting Exposes Dr. Oz as 'Malicious Scam Artist,' Says Fetterman

"Everything he says has been a scam to help himself—not the viewers, not the voters," the Democratic Senate candidate said of his opponent.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo