Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) spoke for more than 15 hours and counting overnight to protest President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
The Oregon Democrat began speaking about 6 p.m. Tuesday and vowed to keep speaking “as long as I’m able,” reported NBC News.
He concluded his speech — which lasted for 15 hours and 28 minutes — at 10:14 a.m.
Merkley’s speech won’t delay the debate or vote on Gorsuch, who was nominated to the position Republicans held open for nearly a year to block former President Barack Obama from choosing a replacement for conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.
“The majority in this chamber decided to steal a Supreme Court seat,” Merkley said on the Senate floor. “Again, such a theft has never, ever happened in the history of our nation.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who announced his intention hours after Scalia’s death to keep the seat open for the next president, said Republicans had enough votes to permanently change Senate rules requiring the votes of 60 senators to confirm a new justice.
“There was no principle to the position,” Merkley said. “It was a warfare tactic.”