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Wild scenes in America overnight

Wild scenes have taken place in Washington DC overnight as the first day of confirmation hearings for President Trump’s nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg kicked off for the first day.A Senate panel opened the confirmation hearing for conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett to join the US Supreme Court, in what has been described as…

Wild scenes have taken place in Washington DC overnight as the first day of confirmation hearings for President Trump’s nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg kicked off for the first day.

A Senate panel opened the confirmation hearing for conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett to join the US Supreme Court, in what has been described as a long, contentious week shortly before the election.

“We will have a hearing hopefully that the country will be (able to) learn more about Judge Barrett, learn more about the law, learn about the differences in judging,” Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham said as he launched the proceedings.

Graham praised the late justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose death in September opened the way for Barrett’s nomination, and “we’re going to fill that vacancy with another great woman,” he said

Both protesters and supports of the decision gathered in front of the building, some dressed in full protective gear, either chanting “confirm Amy” or “let the people decide”.

Others shouted “law and order”, a popular phrase used repeatedly by the president.

Washington Post reporter Marissa J. Lang posted video of protesters opposed to the confirmation “being arrested outside the Dirksen Senate Building as Barrett’s confirmation gets underway”.

She reported at least two dozen people were “poised” to be arrested and were carried away by authorities with “their hands behind their backs”.

Clashes with anti-abortion demonstrators added to the dramatic scenes that included numerous references to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Barrett, 48, who was nominated late last month to fill the seat of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, released her opening remarks prior to hearings, thanking President Trump “for entrusting me with this profound responsibility.”

At the same time, President Trump was on another tweeting spree, calling on federal law enforcement to target the “Radical Left” after rioters in Portland toppled statues of former Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

President Trump described the rioters as “animals” and demanded they be put in jail “now”.

In more tweets he brought back the term “China plague” and commented on the recent spikes in coronavirus cases in Europe.

“Big spike in the China Plague in Europe and other places that the Fake News used to hold up as examples of places that are doing well, in order to make the U.S. look bad,” he wrote.

“Be strong and vigilant, it will run its course. Vaccines and cures are coming fast.

He also slapped US states including California and New York, saying California “is going to hell” while New York “has gone to hell”.

After her opening remarks Monday, Barrett will then face a barrage of questions over Tuesday and Wednesday — with Democratic vice presidential nominee for the 2020 election. Kamala Harris expected to give her a severe grilling while taking part remotely, the New York Post reports.

However Democrats appear largely powerless to block Judge Barrett’s confirmation for the lifetime appointment.

By law the Senate, now controlled by Republicans, is tasked with approving nominations to the country’s highest court, where conservatives currently occupy five of the nine seats.

The Democrats and their presidential candidate Joe Biden are demanding that the nomination be left until after the election, but Trump wants to push ahead as quickly as possible to satisfy voters on the right.

“I believe we should not be moving forward on this nomination, not until the election has ended and the next president has taken office,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the panel, said after Graham’s opening.

She also reminded Republicans that some of them including Graham had pledged in 2016 not to support moving forward with a confirmation process in an election year.

Barrett, a practising Catholic, is well regarded by conservative Christians, who share many of her values, including an opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.

The mother of seven children, including two who were adopted and one with Down syndrome, once told a gathering of students that “your legal career is but a means to an end, and … that end is building the kingdom of God.” In recent days, Barrett’s affiliation to a small group of Catholics called the People of Praise, in which she reportedly held the title of “handmaid,” has drawn particular attention.

“Democrats seem wary of going too close to the question of religion and faith, I think they want to paint Judge Barrett as a conservative ideologue and from their perspective, to show what difference her vote would make for popular policy,” Sarah Binder, political scientist at Washington University, told the BBC.

“Democrats see this as an opening to drive a wedge among Republicans and give women voters in particular and liberal voters back in their states cause to turn out to vote against someone one they might have supported in the past.”

with AFP

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