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Schumer seeks to block Supreme Court replacement before Election Day

By Dave Goldiner, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused the GOP of hypocritically trashing precedent to quickly transform the top court into a right-wing bulwark against the liberal values the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for.

"They are fighting to reverse Justice Ginsburg's legacy, not honor it," the New York Democrat said, in a fierce broadside at Republican colleagues.

He called the fast-track confirmation plan an effort to win support on the top court to repeal Obamacare and turn back the clock on abortion, voting rights and same-sex marriage.

The Supreme Court will hear on Nov. 10 the GOP lawsuit that would strike down the historic act that provides health insurance to millions and bars insurance companies from discriminating against those with preexisting conditions.

"Average Americans are asking what do we have to lose," Schumer said. "The stakes are no less than our fundamental rights. You cannot trust Republicans not to rip away your health care in the middle of a pandemic."

Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate and only two moderates have expressed any misgivings about the plan to replace RBG with less than six weeks before Election Day.

GOP leaders insist they have every right to fill the seat, even though they themselves claimed to set a precedent by refusing to consider President Barack Obama's pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia eight months before the 2016 vote.

Schumer mocked that claim as shameless political hypocrisy, noting that no Supreme Court Justice has ever been confirmed between July and Election Day in a presidential election year.

"There is no, no, no precedent for this," he said. "We have a term for that: It's called a double standard."


His voice dripping with sarcasm, Schumer repeated the words of Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who categorically and specifically promised to oppose an effort by Trump to fill a vacancy in the final year of his first term.

"What can you trust them on now, America?" Schumer asked. "How can you take their words seriously?"

Schumer reserved some of his fiercest attacks for President Donald Trump, who has accused Ginsburg's relatives of concocting her reported final wish that her replacement not be chosen until Americans vote in November.

"How low can a president go?" Schumer asked.

Democrats hope to gum up the Senate works a bit to stall Trump's push to replace Ginsburg as soon as possible, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a master of Senate procedure himself and believes he can bring a pick to a final confirmation vote before Nov. 3.

The GOP could also vote to confirm a Trump pick in a lame-duck session after Election Day, but that could be politically fraught if Trump loses to Joe Biden or Democrats flip the Senate.

Trump plans to unveil his pick on Saturday afternoon and is widely expected to choose Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative appeals court judge.

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