Video by Ford Fischer
Article by Joel Simon

In the midst of the nomination battle over the Supreme Court seat opened due to the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RGB), thousands of mainly pro-choice activists gathered in Washington DC for the “Count on Us” march against President Trump and his nominee to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett.

The event was spearheaded by the Women’s March organization – the group that led hundreds of thousands of protesters nationwide after the inauguration of President Trump in 2017. March leaders chanted and sang, extolling the “power” of women’s activism, as they led large groups of people from Freedom Plaza to Capitol Hill.

They were joined by the “Handmaids”- a group of activists with the Refuse Fascism organization. The Handmaids dress in the costumes of the Handmaids from the popular television show “The Handmaid’s Tale,” in which the Handmaids are women who are cruelly subjugated in a totalitarian post-civil war United States that is run by a theocratic and authoritarian government.

Other activists held signs ridiculing the Trump administration, and some went as far as to bring mocking effigies of the President himself. In one humorous moment, the crowd chanted “Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye…” at a baby Trump balloon that was cut loose and floating away from the event.

When the marchers got to the Supreme Court, they were met by people gathered for a pro-life, pro-Amy Coney Barrett rally. Activists from both sides argued passionately over reproductive rights and access to abortion and reproductive healthcare services.

Tensions boiled over between the two sides when DC Board of Elections At-Large Representative Ashley MacLeay, DC’s lone Republican elected official, spoke on a stage in support of Coney-Barrett. Following her speech, an activist with a Biden sign took the “Confirm ACB” stage.

A protester pulled a sign out of MacLeay’s hand, ripped it up, and threw the pieces on her, saying “We live here, you don’t. Get back. Leave.”

As DC police stepped in to minimize physical contact between the competing activists, chants from both sides grew in intensity. Pro-life activists chanted “Roe v Wade has got to go!” and “ACB, she’s with me!” while pro-choice activists invoked the late RGB and admonished, sometimes vulgarly, the pro-lifers for not wearing masks.

The battle over the replacement for Justice Ginsburg is expected to be highly contentious as President Trump and many of his Republican allies in the Senate are eager to confirm a new justice to the Supreme Court before the upcoming election results are settled.