I stood in front of our state Capitol in Hartford Monday with brave Connecticut residents whose real-life stories I brought into the Judiciary Committee hearing room. As I questioned Judge Amy Coney Barrett, they were present, through gripping poster images, giving a powerful face and voice to the real lives that this nominee could harm — and showing exactly why we are fighting so hard.

Among them were courageous 10-year-old Conner Curran from Ridgefield who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a horribly debilitating disease with hugely expensive treatment. So was Julia Lanzano from Cheshire, who got insurance and brain tumor treatment only because of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. Both have vital care today largely because of ACA provisions that Judge Barrett would likely decimate.

Since the ACA was enacted a decade ago, it has not only ensured lifesaving care for people with preexisting conditions such as Conner and Julia, but also allowed children to stay on their parents’ health plans until 26, prevented overcharging of women for insurance, made drugs available at lower costs, and expanded Medicaid coverage. Republicans have repeatedly — indeed dozens of times — voted in Congress to strike down this historic law.

Now as the Supreme Court hears their latest challenge to the ACA, only a week after Election Day, Republicans are rushing to confirm a nominee who has passed President Trump’s “strong test”: she must strike down the ACA and overturn Roe v. Wade. Make no mistake: Judge Barrett has been carefully vetted and screened by far right groups to meet this test.

Through an activist, extreme justice, Republicans seek to achieve in court what they cannot do in Congress. Judge Barrett has been rushed to the court so she can legislate from the bench, under the smokescreen of originalism, substituting her own policy views for elected representatives’.

In addition to people with preexisting conditions, I also brought into the hearing room real stories of survivors and victims of gun violence — because Judge Barrett has shown she would likely legislate from the bench to strike down commonsense protections against this scourge, like many passed in Connecticut.

In a startling dissent, she outlined an expansive Second Amendment approach condemning long-established laws that forbid firearm possession by felons. She conceded in a later speech that her position “sounds kind of radical.” It is.

To show the real-life harm of her radical views, I highlighted the story of Ethan Song, who died tragically from an unsafely stored firearm in a friend’s house. Ethan’s Law, championed by his parents Michael and Kristin and passed by our state legislature last year, could be struck down under Judge Barrett’s extreme Second Amendment approach. I also featured Janet Rice and her son, Shane Oliver, who was killed in a downtown Hartford shooting. In honor of her son, Janet is fighting to put an end to the gun violence epidemic that has claimed so many Black lives. And I introduced Natalie Barden, whose little brother, Daniel, was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

To demonstrate other real harms likely resulting from Barrett’s radical views, I shared personal experiences of Tracy from Norwalk, who relied on in vitro fertilization, and of Samantha, who was raped and got an abortion — both medical procedures that could be jeopardized by Judge Barrett’s extreme legal positions. Judge Barrett refused to say whether rights to these procedures were constitutionally protected, or possibly could be criminalized. Her answers were chilling to anyone committed to reproductive freedoms.

Judge Barrett’s belated release of undisclosed records, including a letter calling Roe’s legacy “barbaric,” is another reason to slow this rushed process and to ensure we have all of the information about her before she receives a lifetime appointment to the highest court in our country.

One shocking reason for Republicans’ rush is that President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans want the vacancy filled by Election Day so the Supreme Court, not voters, can decide a contested election. They have already said the quiet part out loud. President Trump articulated it explicitly. I asked Judge Barrett if she would recuse herself from sitting on that case if confirmed, but she refused to commit to it.

The next president and the next Senate should pick the next justice so the American people have a say.

This sham process is not normal and not right. Republicans may have the votes, but might does not make right. The American people can and, I believe, will judge their conduct. This deeply defective confirmation process threatens not just the legitimacy of the Supreme Court, which depends on credibility and trust, but the future of our democracy. I will fight to block any nominee before the next president’s inaugural, but you must use your voice and your vote to fight now. This fight is for our future.

U.S. Sen Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, has served in the office since 2011.