Senator Hirono attempted to make her vote on the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court memorable on Monday evening.
When called to cast her vote, Hirono walked up to the table on the Senate floor, arms folded.
“Hell no,” she said, thrusting her fist forward with a thumbs-down.
She then turned on her heels and walked off the floor.
Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court in a vote of 52-48. Only Republicans voted to confirm her (with the exception of Senator Susan Collins of Maine). All Senate Democrats voted against.
Hirono’s office has not responded to media requests for a comment on her display.
The Senator from Hawaii made headlines last week during the confirmation hearings for asking Barrett if she had ever engaged in sexual harassment or abuse, and for scolding the Supreme Court nominee on her use of the term “sexual preference”.
Senator Feinstein had pressed Justice Barrett on cases involving same-sex marriage rights. In response, Barrett told the Senator, “I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would never discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.”
Hirono picked up on the use of the term quickly and brought it to Barrett’s attention:
“Not once, but twice, you used the term ‘sexual preference’ to describe those in the LGBTQ community,” Hirono said. “Let me make clear: ‘sexual preference’ is an offensive and outdated term. It is used by anti-LGBTQ activists to suggest that sexual orientation is a choice. It is not.”
Hirono has been outspoken in her opposition to Barrett’s confirmation based on how she believes Barrett will rule on cases involving abortion rights and LGBTQ rights.
In her confirmation speech after taking the constitutional oath, Justice Barrett made clear how a judge’s role differs in policy from a legislator’s role:
“It is the job of a Senator to pursue her policy preferences. In fact, it would be a dereliction of duty for her to put policy goals aside. By contrast, it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences. It would be a dereliction of duty for her to give in to them.”
As such, she devoted herself to fulfilling her role on the Supreme Court without letting her preferences rise above rule of law:
“The oath that I have solemnly taken tonight means at its core that I will do my job without any fear or favor and that I will do so independently of both the political branches and of my own preferences.”