Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Into the Nightmare, DC. #NoConfirmationBeforeInauguration. #LetThePeopleDecide.


Scenes from a supreme court hearing, with the ACA and Healthcare on the line.

Scenes from a confirmation protest. Photos by ken Schles

Activist in a wheelchair and a fan. Karen Flaherty

The night Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, I knew we’d all have to go back to DC to fight the confirmation of a new supreme court judge, Donald Trump’s third on the court, possibly tilting the court's ideology from the center toward the right.  The court requires centrists, people who build consensus and vote across the aisle, not ideologs.  Neither Trump, not Bush won the popular vote, yet they will have placed  a conservative majority on the court if this confirmation goes through. 

The state controlling a woman would mean denying her full autonomy and full equality,” said the late justice.

That was what this was about, autonomy, freedom of bodies, of thoughts, of people to choose the kind of families they form, on what terms, what kind of a democracy this will be.

Jaron Benjamin, of Housing Works, wrote:

“I don’t know if you’ve already heard, but Housing Works is going back to Washington, DC on October 12th to demand “No Confirmation Until Inauguration” from the Senate Judiciary Committee. It’s shameful that President Trump and Sens. McConnell and Graham are rushing to fill RBG’s seat instead of addressing the nation’s COVID crisis.”

We’re going to gather at the Supreme Court at 8am for the demonstration. Can you be there? Please let me know, immediately, if you can make it to the steps of the Supreme Court on Monday.

Knowing the future of the Affordable Care Act, Marriage Equality, Civil Rights and Reproductive Autonomy are on the line, I committed to go to DC.

We have to do whatever we can do.

Ken, Yana and I left at 345 AM, driving through the pitch black and pouring rain, hoping to get to DC in the next four hours.

It took four and a half.

Arriving in DC, we heard screams outside the Dirksen Senate Office Building where the hearing was taking place.

“Fill the Seat, Fill the Seat!” screamed some high school students, and a few college students from Liberty University, supporters of the conservative justice. 

Around the corner, my friends from Housing Works and the Center for Popular Democracy were there.

“Whose court? Our court!!!” activists were screaming in hazmat suits.

Charles King, of Housing Works, was getting arrested as I sat down to join the others.

Proud to be arrested this morning with 19 other folk who believe in good trouble,” said King. “Fighting for justice is holy work.”


Within a few minutes, we were all arrested.


Instead of taking us to the gym, where they often take protesters. They took us outside and processed our paperwork.


I talked with a few of the close to two dozen activists on hand, relieved we were not being taken into the jail across the street, where they kept us on my last arrest here during the impeachment.

Democracy requires our voices so we participate.

But these are complicated times.

COVID 19 is still raging.

If they’d taken us inside, we’d all be at risk.

Democracy vs COVID, that was the question, everything in the balance.


"If Senate leadership forces a nominee before the next Congress and president are installed, it would deprive the people of their voice and further destabilize a nation already gripped by crisis," said Ana Maria Archila

, co-executive director of advocacy group CPD Action, said in a statement ahead of the demonstration.

After we got out, a few of us walked to the Supreme Court for a rally.


Justice with blindfolds, at Court, Yana stood, her eyes covered.


Ana Maria was speaking, surrounded by activists.


Opponents circling us, jumping in the way, trying to fight.


“Jesus lives” bellowed a man without a face covering.


“Yes, you have a loud voice,” Ana replied.


Over and over, he screamed this.


“Jesus bleeds.”


“Jesus’s blood never had a co pay,” said the next speaker.


“What does Jesus have to do with anything?” wondered a man, standing watching, referring to the separation of church and state.


A speaker from the Sunshine Movement talked about the things we all need, jobs, a clean environment, and civil liberties, nothing that Trumps first supreme court judge, voted to do away with worker’s rights in the Janus Decision.


Charles King spoke about “the idolatry of the so-called doctrine of ‘original intent.’”

What is original intent from former slave owners?

Our idea of democracy is only expanding.

In other circles, its contracting.


Karen Flaherty writes:

“If today was any indication it will not be a peaceful transition. Bush vs Gore 2000. I met someone today who belonged to the Tea Party Patriot Club. Can you believe such a thing exists. Well I do. I have seen them upclose and it is not very pretty. Thank you CPD, Housing Works and all others there today. We will be back.


“When Trump was elected, I thought he’d get us in a war,” said Ken on the drive home.

“Yet, instead of starting a war abroad, he’s started a war on us.”

Immigrants and queers, people with pre existing conditions and disabilities in need of healthcare are all in the radar.


We were outnumbered today.

Hopefully we won’t be in the future.

Writing from DC, Jennifer Flynn Walker




…we started a urgent week of action at 6:30AM this morning at Senate Judiciary Committee chair Lindsey Graham's house demanding that he get a COVID test before convening a closed-door hearing, before the SCOTUS rally at 8AM and a press conference at 11AM. It meant so much to see many longtime resisters today.

What was clear today at the opening of Amy Coney Barrett's illegitimate Senate nomination hearing is Mitch McConnell and the GOP will do ANYTHING to force through this nomination before the election, including risk the lives of their fellow Senators and the American people. Outside, many of Amy Coney Barrett's supporters refused to wear masks, were chanting, "Law And Order!" Law And Order" and were clear that if she replaces Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, it will mean the end of Roe vs. Wade, DACA, the ACA and marriage equality.

Just as in 2018 during the Kavanaugh hearings, much of the public narrative will be shaped by who shows up here + with what energy. The fight is harder, as we cannot be in the room or engaging with Judiciary Committee members or Senators in person this time, so it's CRUCIAL that we show up visibly to represent the majority of Americans who believe these hearings should not proceed till after the election.

"Thursday is the next big, big day. Then the 22nd. Everyone. Take a day off. We have PPE. Gloves, hand sanitizer, hazmat suits, masks."


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