Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley took the Senate floor just before 7 p.m. Tuesday and launched into an all-night speech against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
He was still speaking as of 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The Hill reports that his office is expecting him to “hold the floor and refuse to yield for as long as he is able to continue speaking.” The Senate is expected to vote to end debate on the Gorsuch nomination Thursday.
Merkley accused Republicans of attempting to fill a “stolen seat,” referencing how Republicans denied a hearing on former President Barack Obama’s appointment, Merrick Garland.
The Oregon Democrat also said that the Senate should not confirm a Trump high court nominee while the FBI investigates Russia’s intervention into the 2016 presidential election.
“This is a very serious question. There is a very dark cloud over the legitimacy of the election, and therefore, the legitimacy of the president,” he said.
Merkley’s campaign team said in an email that his speech was intended to pressure GOP leadership “to pull Gorsuch’s nomination” and re-nominate Garland or someone like Garland.
Senate Republicans have no plans to do such a thing and are willing to change the rules of the upper chamber so that a simple majority — instead of 60 votes — will be needed to confirm Gorsuch. Republicans laughed off Merkley’s efforts on the floor.
Don Stewart, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s spokesman, asked on Twitter, “Remember when Sen. Merkley opposed filibusters?”