Sep 20, 2020

Chuck Schumer & AOC Press Conference Transcript: Reserve SCOTUS Nominee for Next President

Chuck Schumer & AOC Press Conference Transcript: Reserve SCOTUS Nominee for Next President
RevBlogTranscriptsPolitical TranscriptsChuck Schumer & AOC Press Conference Transcript: Reserve SCOTUS Nominee for Next President

Senator Chuck Schumer and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez held a press conference on September 20 to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg and call on Republican leaders to not fill the SCOTUS vacancy before the election. “To try and decide this at this last time, at this late moment, is despicable and wrong and against democracy,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said. Rep. AOC said: “I believe that certainly there has been an enormous amount of law breaking in the Trump administration. I believe that Attorney General Barr is unfit for office and that he has pursued potentially lawbreaking behavior.” Transcript of the news conference here.

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Chuck Schumer: (00:00)
… to be joined by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and we are here because of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing. We are here really for three reasons: to show how unified we are, the Democrats are, in trying to make sure that her legacy is protected, and that’s the second reason, to honor that legacy. She was an amazing woman, incredible. In a male-dominated legal establishment, she pushed her way through for brains and strength and fortitude and changed the world for women long before the rest of the world caught up. When she got to the court, she was able to bring that same equality and strength to so many different people of all different types and kinds.

Chuck Schumer: (00:52)
She was an amazing woman. So, the first reason we’re here is unity, and the second is to honor her legacy, to demand that her last wish be fulfilled by the Senate. She said, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed. We believe that, so do the American people. Today, a Reuters poll came out and said, “62% of Americans agree with her.” That’s such a high number it has to mean that Democrats, Republicans and independents all agree that it is only right and it is only fair for us to abide by RBG’s last wish, that she be replaced when a new president is installed.

Chuck Schumer: (01:43)
But the third reason we’re here is the most important of all. So many people’s rights are at stake in this election. The right of people to health care. The President is pursuing a policy which would get rid of all protections for preexisting conditions, which would take healthcare away from 7 million people, and he will appoint a justice that will enact that in the Supreme court case that is due only a few weeks after election day. We are here to protect the rights of women, their rights to their own body, their rights to choose, their rights to healthcare, their rights to equality would all go down the drain if that wish were not realized. We’re here to protect the rights of working people.

Chuck Schumer: (02:36)
The court, the majority on the court, which is to undo the rights working people have, to undo labor unions and make it much harder for working people to get ahead. We’re here to protect the rights of our globe and the people who live on it, so that climate is protected. A court with the kind of nominee President Trump will choose will undo all of that and not make global warming less likely, but far more likely and it will come quicker. We’re here to protect the rights of LGBTQ people, which the court recently conferred. My daughter and her wife, are here and over New Year’s dinner last night, Rosh Hashanah dinner, they thought to themselves could their right to marry and love each other in marriage go away.

Chuck Schumer: (03:31)
We’re here to protect the rights, voting rights, of so many people. We’re here to protect the civil rights of so many people and people of color. We’re here because the American people want those rights preserved. We do not want to turn the clock back. We only need two more senators to say that they will abide by RBG’s wish, two have already said it, we need two more. So, Americans, if you care about all these rights, if you don’t want big, powerful, wealthy, special interests to turn the clock back 100 years even, please, our fervent plea, our fervent wish is that you call your senator and say, “Abide by the wishes of this saintly, brilliant caring woman. Wait. Let’s have an election, let’s see the results, and then let us choose somebody on the Supreme Court.”

Chuck Schumer: (04:34)
Congresswoman.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (04:34)
Of course.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (04:35)
Thank you so much, Senator. We are here today to make sure that we honor the legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who came right here as a product of James Madison High School, and as a proud New Yorker and Brooklynite. It’s extraordinarily important that we understand the stakes of this vacancy. Our reproductive rights are on the line. Our labor rights are on the line. Our right to healthcare is on the line. Labor and union protections are on the line. Our climate is on the line. With an early appointment, all of our rights, the rights that so many people died for, voting rights, reproductive rights, healthcare rights, all of those rights are at risk with this appointment.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (05:39)
So, we need to make sure that we mobilize on an unprecedented scale to ensure that this vacancy is reserved for the next president. We must use every tool at our disposal, from everyday people, especially in swing states. We need everyday people to call on senators, to call on folks on the bubble to call Republican senators, to make sure that they hold this vacancy open. We must also commit to using every procedural tool available to us, to ensure that we buy ourselves the time necessary. We must commit to allowing and to considering and to utilizing every single procedural tool available to us, again, to buy that time. We need to make sure that we realize and fight this fight with the weight of every person who sacrificed for voting rights, every person who sacrificed their wellbeing and their lives to make sure that they could marry whomever they love, to make sure that they can live freely and safely in a workplace, to make sure that they can live in this country and make sure that dreamers can stay in this country, and that families can have the path to citizenship that they deserve.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (07:12)
This is our entire livelihood that could be shaped by the next 60 or so days, 45, 44 days until the election, a few more until the ACA case is being heard on the Supreme Court. This is one of the most important times that we have had for everyday people to stand up, not just from everyday working people, but all the way up to the house and the Senate. We all need to be more courageous, and we all must act in unprecedented ways to make sure that that our rights are stabilized. To Mitch McConnell, we need to tell him that he is playing with fire. We need to make sure that this vacancy is protected, that our election continues and that the American people have their say. Thank you very much.

Chuck Schumer: (08:12)
Thank you.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (08:13)
Thank you, Senator.

Chuck Schumer: (08:13)
I didn’t mention, I too am an alumnus of Madison High School, but we were not allowed in this entrance, this was the teacher’s entrance. We had to go around the corner and enter on the side. But it has a grand tradition and Madison High School was what America has always been, a diverse group of people of every different background, race, creed, color. Everyone striving. It was a working class school. People struggled to get ahead, but they needed an ally. The court can be that ally or that court can be an enemy of their progress. That’s what we’re here to do. And as the Congresswoman said, if you want to get back at Mitch McConnell’s blatant, nasty hypocrisy, call your senator and tell them not to listen to Mitch McConnell, not to be afraid of Mitch McConnell, to do the right thing, stand up and do just what is fair and right, and to adhere to RBG’s final wish.

Chuck Schumer: (09:25)
We’re ready for some questions on this subject.

Speaker 3: (09:27)
Senator, I’m curious if you’ve spoken with either Senator Romney, Grassley about what their decision in the coming days might be and your reaction to this now coming as some people across the country have already started to vote.

Chuck Schumer: (09:40)
Well, that’s the point here, people are already voting. It’s just a few days away. I quoted Mitch McConnell, what he said four years ago when Merrick Garland was nominated, that it should be when you’re close to an election, the next president should decide. We’re not close to an election, we’re in an election. To try and decide this at this last time, at this late moment, is despicable and wrong and against democracy. It’s shoving the wishes of the hard right and the Republicans who go along with them down America’s throat.

Speaker 4: (10:19)
Senator, if-

Speaker 5: (10:19)
Baba Booey, Baba Booey.

Speaker 4: (10:22)
… if the President’s pick is approved and Biden wins the election, should he add more Supreme Court justices?

Chuck Schumer: (10:31)
Well, it will be a decision that comes to the Senate. We first have to win the majority before that can happen. But once we win the majority, God-willing, everything is on the table.

Speaker 6: (10:43)
Senator, just to follow up on that, would you reconsider a balloting filibuster?

Chuck Schumer: (10:49)
As I said, we first have to win the majority, because if we don’t win the majority, these questions are all moot. But if we win the majority, everything is on the table.

Speaker 7: (11:00)
Congresswoman, you mentioned being open to all ideas to buy time, would you be in support of potentially renewing talks of a [inaudible 00:11:07] hearing, either against the Attorney General or the President?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (11:10)
Well, I believe that certainly there has been an enormous amount of law breaking in the Trump administration. I believe that Attorney General Barr is unfit for office and that he has pursued potentially lawbreaking behavior. That being said, these are procedures and decisions that are largely up to House Democratic Leadership. But I believe that, also, we must consider, again, all of the tools available to our disposal and that all of these options should be entertained and on the table.

Speaker 8: (11:46)
Congresswoman, if you could just stand for Telemundo. [Spanish 00:11:50].

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (12:29)
[Spanish 00:12:01].

Chuck Schumer: (13:06)
One last question.

Speaker 9: (13:08)
Senator, do you feel that Amy Coney Barrett [inaudible 00:13:11].

Chuck Schumer: (13:13)
I hope she can’t. She stands for all the things Ruth Bader Ginsburg was against, and so many things that the vast majority of American people are against. I don’t know if she’ll be the nominee, but someone of that philosophy does not belong on the court and could cement a hard right conservative court that for our generation could turn the clock back on the right, the aspirations, the hopes of the majority of American people.

Speaker 10: (13:41)
All right, we’re good.

Chuck Schumer: (13:42)
Thank you.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (13:43)
Thank you so much.

Chuck Schumer: (13:43)
That was great.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (13:43)
Thank you very much.

Chuck Schumer: (13:43)
[inaudible 00:13:49].

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (13:43)
Yeah, absolutely. And happy anniversary.

Chuck Schumer: (13:43)
Oh, thank you. Thank you.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (13:43)
Enjoy it.

Chuck Schumer: (13:43)
How’d you know? This guy.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: (13:43)
My QA knew-

Chuck Schumer: (13:43)
Oh, good, good.