Democrat Vice-Presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris called on the Senate to hold off on confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court "until after Americans decide who they want in the White House".
Harris is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Barrett nomination hearing this week gives her a few moments in the spotlight in the midst of the presidential campaign.
Harris attended the hearing virtually from her Senate office and in her opening statement, she blasted the nominating process, as well as the hearing itself.
"More than 9 million Americans have already voted and millions more will vote, while this illegitimate committee process is underway," Harris said, adding that "a clear majority of Americans want whomever wins this election to fill the seat".
"The decision to hold this hearing now is reckless, and places facilities, workers, janitorial staff and congressional aides and Capitol police at risk," she said.
Capitol officials said ahead of the hearing that the room was set up to comply with coronavirus protocols.
Democrats criticised Republicans for acting on the nomination in warp speed and with the election just weeks away. In 2016, Republicans blocked President Barack Obama from filling a high court seat eight months before Election Day.
Harris focused most of her remarks on GOP attempts to roll back the Affordable Care Act, and said Republicans "are trying to bypass the will of the voters and have the Supreme Court do their dirty work".
"Senate Republicans have made it crystal clear that rushing a Supreme Court nomination is more important than helping and supporting the American people who are suffering from a deadly pandemic and a devastating economic crisis," she said.
A case related to the Affordable Care Act is scheduled to go before the high court on November 10.
"Every American must understand that with this nomination, equal justice under law is at stake, our voting rights are at stake, workers rights are at stake, consumer rights are at stake," she said. "The right to safe and legal abortion is at stake. And holding corporations accountable is at stake."
Harris added, "We must listen to our constituents and protect their access to health care and wait to confirm a new Supreme Court justice" until after the election.