As Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee climb the Capitol stairs, protesters with the “Handmaids Brigade” protest outside the U.S. Capitol, last Thursday in Washington, D.C. The committee voted to confirm the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court at the hearing, with the full U.S. Senate scheduled to vote on the nomination Monday night. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
As Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee climb the Capitol stairs, protesters with the “Handmaids Brigade” protest outside the U.S. Capitol, last Thursday in Washington, D.C. The committee voted to confirm the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court at the hearing, with the full U.S. Senate scheduled to vote on the nomination Monday night. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Senator pulls no punches on Barrett nomination. Johnson to vote in favor, and draws an early challenger for re-election.

Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin did not mince words Monday morning as she spoke on the Senate floor about the pending Monday night nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court.

“This rigged and illegitimate process is wrong,” Baldwin said. 

With record numbers of voters turning out for the 2020 election, Baldwin excoriated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Senate Republicans for pushing Barrett’s nomination.

“Voters across America should be allowed to cast their ballots first and have their votes counted before this Senate votes on a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court,” Baldwin said. “The people should be heard first but it’s clear that the Majority Leader and a majority of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have no interest in listening to the people; that’s why they are rushing and ramming President Trump’s Supreme Court nomination just days before the election.”

Baldwin contrasted the nomination process of Barrett, who was nominated 39 days before the election, to that of Merrick Garland, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama eight months before the 2016 election and never received a hearing. Baldwin accused McConnell and Senate Republicans of pushing Barrett’s nomination so she will be on the bench to hear the Trump administration’s lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act and out of the hope that she could help overturn Roe v. Wade, which protects a woman’s reproductive rights.

“Let’s be clear: I don’t oppose her because of her personal views,” Baldwin said. “What I do oppose is the phony game that’s being played where the people pushing this nomination forward pretend that this nominee is simply a blank slate and will consider nothing more than words on a page in her court decisions concerning women’s reproductive health. Don’t pretend that you don’t know how she will come down on this issue. You should at least have the courage of your convictions and say to the people who are voting right now in this election that you support Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination because you know she will overturn Roe versus Wade, too.”

Instead, Baldwin argued the Senate should be prioritizing relief for businesses and individuals who are hurting due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis. She pointed to the two HEROES acts, one of which was passed in May and a second at the beginning of October.

“This legislation has been sitting on the majority leader’s desk since May while businesses have closed, millions have lost their jobs, and hundreds of thousands of Americans have died,” Baldwin said. “My home state is a national red zone for COVID-19. We are experiencing our worst outbreak of infection since the pandemic began, breaking records for new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Right now people want action, support, and relief from Washington.”

Baldwin’s colleague, Republican Ron Johnson who recently tested positive for coronavirus, said he would wear a “moon suit” if necessary to be in the Senate chamber to vote for Barrett. It is that fervor to support her confirmation so close to the election that Outagamie County Tom Nelson said propelled him to announce his candidacy for Johnson’s seat two years from now. 

The Senate is expected to vote on Barrett’s nomination around 7:30 p.m. Monday.