WASHINGTON D.C. – Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley was on his feet and continued speaking for more than 15 hours on the Senate floor to protest the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court.
Merkley began speaking at around 4 p.m. Tuesday and stopped Wednesday morning as Republicans took over the floor debate in an effort to amend nomination rules for Supreme Court justices.
Merkley has described the nomination of Gorsuch as "theft" by Republicans after they failed to have a hearing or vote for Merrick Garland, who was nominated to the Supreme Court by then-President Barack Obama last year.
"293 days without a fair hearing or vote. That is an unprecedented theft that cannot stand," Merkley tweeted.
On Wednesday, Merkley spoke with KGW's Laural Porter about his speech.
A vote on Gorsuch’s nomination is expected to take place later this week. Currently, Gorsuch needs 60 votes to be confirmed to the Supreme Court.
But Republicans have said they are willing to use a so-called “nuclear option" to confirm Gorsuch. Under the nuclear option, Republican leaders would move to quickly change Senate rules so Gorsuch could be confirmed with a majority 51 votes. That would eliminate the need for Gorsuch to get support from Democrats in the Republican-controlled Senate.
"Ahead, the Republicans have a choice," Merkley said after the marathon filibuster. "Do they change the rules with the “nuclear option” and force this ideologue onto the Court? Or do they pull back from the brink and bring America together?"