Press Release

AFT’s Weingarten on Senate Judiciary Advancing Amy Coney Barrett’s Nomination to the Supreme Court

Republican Leadership Again Changes Senate Rules to Serve Political Ambitions While Americans’ Concerns Are Ignored

For Release: 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement responding to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote to advance the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court despite a boycott by Democratic senators:

“Today, as our country’s coronavirus death toll surpasses 220,000, Sen. Lindsey Graham once again changed the Senate rules to jam through a Supreme Court nominee, this time just 12 days before the end of this presidential election. This is yet another example of President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Graham defying precedent and the public will, and heeding their own promises to install an ideological soulmate for Trump on the Supreme Court. The public needs a coronavirus relief package, which McConnell and the Republican Senate have refused to negotiate even though it could save American lives and livelihoods. They have proven that they are willing to let families go bankrupt and force schools, states, cities and towns to impose deep cuts and massive layoffs in the middle of this crisis. Graham and McConnell’s priorities are elsewhere. I am proud of the Democrats of the Judiciary Committee for taking a stand today and calling out this process for the sham that it is. 

“Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s actions and writings make her a troubling nominee. Her record shows an antipathy toward workers’ rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, the environment and our civil liberties, including the right to vote and to have those votes counted. She is against healthcare protections for the American people and has previously championed the repeal of the Affordable Care Act—despite the fact that we are in the middle of a pandemic, when people need healthcare the most. Make no mistake: Barrett is being rammed onto the highest court in the land in order to try to save the campaign of the man nominating her. Her potential reward? A lifetime seat on the court, and a chance to swing the court in extreme directions that do not reflect the values of the American people. 

“More than 43 million Americans have already voted for their next president. McConnell and the GOP leaders only care about putting a Trump ally on the court because they know they are losing. Senate Democrats took a necessary stand by walking out of today’s sham hearing, refusing to put a fig leaf on an ugly power grab.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.