Vice President Mike Pence focused heavily on religious freedom during a Saturday rally in The Villages, the nation’s largest retirement community, located in one of the most traditionally conservative sectors of the country.
He addressed the confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett set to start Monday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“The American people expect Democrats in the Senate to give Judge Barrett a dignified hearing, this time,” Pence said, alluding to Barrett’s Court of Appeals confirmation hearing in 2017.
“But we have reason to be concerned,” Pence continued, reminding attendees of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Ca.) comments three years ago when she told Barrett, “the dogma lives loudly in you.”
Feinstein referred to her Catholic faith, which Democrats fear could affect cases involving Roe v Wade.
“Well, I’ve got news for the Democrats and their friends in Hollywood – the dogma lives loudly in me,” Biden said to cheers from the Sumter County, Fla., crowd.
“The dogma lives loudly in you, and the right to live and work and worship according to dictates of our conscience, lives loudly in the Constitution of the United States of America.”
Pence also addressed warnings from some congressional Democrats that if the GOP-controlled Senate pushed forward Barrett’s confirmation before the Nov. 3 election, they would seek to add seats to the Supreme Court.
If Barrett were to be confirmed, she would be the third justice appointed during Trump’s presidency, and the sixth on the court appointed by a conservative president. Three remain who were appointed under a Democratic president.
Justices are supposed to fill a nonpartisan role, though they are picked by a president and confirmed by a Senate that seeks values coinciding with their party.
GOP officials have accused Democrats of threatening to pack the court, as Democrats cite an imbalance. Democrats have not yet said how many seats they would add, though they would have to add four justices to gain a 7-6 majority.
Pence called the strategy “the biggest power grab in American history” during Saturday’s rally.
The Villages has two Republicans for every Democrat, according to the Tampa Bay Times, but there is growing speculation that Trump’s style of conservatism does not jibe with traditional Republicans.
Voters who fall into the 65 and older group are not only one of Trump’s largest base, but make up 1 in 4 votes for all eligible voters, according to the Pew Research Institute.
The Villages, however, is reportedly seeing a drop in the number of Trump supporters living there.
Florida’s 65 and older voter group makes up 29 percent of the state’s voters, 43 percent of which are registered Republicans, and 37 percent are Democrats.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.