Democrats launched their case against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Saying support for her confirmation was equivalent to a vote to end the Affordable Care Act.
Top Democrats put the fate of the law, in a rush of statements following Barrett’s Rose Garden introduction, and its popular protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, front and center.
They also made recurrent reference to the coronavirus pandemic and the chaos that could arise from clear health insurance options from millions of Americans in its midpoint.
From the Democratic presidential ticket on down, criticism of Barrett repeatedly circled back to what has been a political winner for the party: health care and the reprisal to Republican efforts to pull-apart the ACA, former President Barack Obama’s signature policy achievement.
“President Trump has been trying to throw out the Affordable Care Act for four years. Republicans have been trying to end it for a decade. Twice, the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed the law as constitutional,” Presidential nominee Joe Biden said in a statement.
“The Trump Administration is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the entire law, including its protections for people with pre-existing conditions, even now in the middle of a global health pandemic,”
Biden made specific reference to some of the niggling tolls of the illness, including scarring of the lungs and heart damage, describing those complications as “the next deniable pre-existing condition.”
Democrats have been considering a number of options in how they plan to frame their opposition to Barrett’s nomination.
Her writings on abortion rights, and the expectation among most liberals and many conservatives that she would side with a decision to undermine or overturn.
Woven into Democrats’ initial argument against Barrett, Republicans’ decision to move forward with the nomination, in the confrontation of the logic of their blockade of Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland, in 2016.
Zeroing in on health care:
California Sen. Kamala Harris which will hold Barrett’s confirmation hearings made only one passing mention of the nominee in her own statement.
She said, “Republicans are eager to get Judge Barrett confirmed before the Supreme Court takes up this case in November and millions of Americans will suffer for their power play,”
Harris took aim at Trump, saying the President had effectively created a “litmus test” for his Supreme Court nominees. “Destroy the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with preexisting conditions and overturn our right to make our own health care decisions.”
That message was pulsated in the words of the Senate’s top-ranking Democrats: Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, and Washington Sen. Patty Murray.
Schumer draws a straight line between Barrett’s confirmation and the fate of the ACA.
Schumer said, “The American people should make no mistake, a vote by any Senator for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to strike down the ACA and eliminate protections of Americans with pre-existing conditions,”
Murray pulsated Schumer in a series of tweets.
Murray tweeted, “President Trump has told us repeatedly what he wants in a justice: a jurist who above anything else is committed to exenterate health care through the courts and ending safe, legal abortion in the United States of America.”
“Make no mistake, a vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee who meets President Trump’s tests is a vote to take away people’s health care and vital rights.”
GOP leaders hope to wrap before Election Day, Durbin tied the health care argument to Democratic complaints of Republican sanctimony over the timing of the process.
Durbin said in a statement, “It is clear why Republicans have reversed their position from 2016 about giving the American people ‘a voice’ in filling an election-year vacancy.”
“They want another vote on the Supreme Court for their lawsuit to overturn the ACA by eliminating health insurance for millions, ending protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and raising costs for millions more in the middle of a pandemic.”
The health care-centered argument pass over ideological division within the party. The campaign of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez sent an email to supporters with the subject line that Confirming Amy Coney Barrett will be the end of the ACA.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren called the nomination “illegitimate” and described GOP efforts to push through her nomination as the capper.
But Warren returned to health care, writing, “We know Trump will pick a Supreme Court nominee who will deliver the death blow to the ACA and rip health care away from millions of people during a deadly pandemic. We know it because he’s already in Court demanding this.”