Sen. Schatz: Barrett confirmation "the most rank hypocrisy I've ever seen"

"We're not the world's greatest deliberative body. We're just a little factory that approves federal judges," Schatz said. "And that's how [Republican Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell wants it."

There's "no legislating going on," the senator said.

"But it's especially egregious when so many people need so much help," he added, describing the lives and jobs and businesses lost due to the health crisis.

"And the highest priority for Mitch McConnell is stacking the courts."

"It's not a trivial thing that you held up Merrick Garland," Schatz said, referring to the refusal by Senate Republican to take up President Barack Obama's nominee for the high court in 2016.

"Inside of this body, we're supposed to care about stuff like that. Inside of this body, your word is supposed to count for stuff like that. It's not supposed to be about the maximal use of power, and tricking each other, and tricking the public."

"It's like a joke here. We fly in - a lot of us fly out on the weekends - we fly in, we arrive, and we say, 'what's on deck for this week?' And everyone says, 'nominations.' We've got a circuit judge, we've got a district judge, we've got another district judge. How many is it? 'Oh we've got five judges this week.' No legislating going on. But that's become the way this place operates. We're not the world's greatest deliberative body. We're just a little factory that approves federal judges.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SCHATZ: This is the most rank hypocrisy I've ever seen in anything politically, and it's one of the most important things that I've ever seen. And so it's not a trivial thing that you held up Merrick Garland.

Now, do I go around saying that on the cable shows and whatever? No, because I know, outside of this body, nobody cares. Inside of this body, we're supposed to care about stuff like that. Inside of this body, your word is supposed to count for something. It's not supposed to be about the maximal use of power and tricking each other and tricking the public.

It's like a joke here. We fly in, a lot of us fly out on the weekends. We fly in, we arrive, and we say, what's on deck for this week? And everyone says, nominations. We got a circuit judge, we've got a district judge, we've got another district judge. How many is it? Oh, it's five judges this week, no legislating going on.

That's sort of-- that's become the way this place operates. We're not the world's greatest deliberative body. We're just like a like a little factory that approves federal judges. And that's how Mitch McConnell wants it.

But it's especially egregious when so many people need so much help. This is a world-historic event. You got 220,000 people dead. You got about 1,000 people dying a day. You've got businesses closing forever. You've got economic extinction all over the country-- red states, blue states, rural areas, urban areas, suburban areas. And the highest priority for Mitch McConnell is stacking the courts.