Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee all had the same unison message, portray Judge Amy Coney Barrett as a threat to Obamacare, and rushing her nomination to the high courts is “life and death” to the millions of Americans who depend on the Affordable Care Act.
Throughout the hearing, the 10 Democratic lawmakers who occupy the minority side of the Senate Judiciary Committee had photos of constituents from their home states displayed around the hearing room who they all said would be impacted by the legal changes of the Affordable Care Act.
Noting that there isn’t much they can do to stop the confirmation before Election Day, Democrats believe that playing to the hearts of American people watching at home will sway them to vote against President Trump and his Republican allies up for re-election.
“We do not have some secret, clever procedural way to stop this sham. Let’s be honest,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) told reporters in a news conference with fellow Democratic Senate members following the conclusion of the hearing. “And as good as we are, it’s probably not going to be some brilliant cross-examination that is going to change the trajectory of this nomination. But there is one thing that will, and that is the people of this country. That is them voting.”
“Our message, as with this mask: Vote, number one, and number two, call the Republican senators because we don’t have some special procedural way to stop this sham,” she added.
As proof Barrett is looking to overturn the ACA, Democrats are seizing on a law journal article she wrote in 2017 to argue on how she will rule in the upcoming case. The line they are honing in for their line of argument pertains to Barrett believing that Chief Justice John Roberts in the National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius which upheld Obamacare, had “pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee used Barrett 2017 article as her argument basis during her opening statement.
“The president has promised to appoint justices who will vote to dismantle that law. As a candidate, he criticized the Supreme Court for upholding the law and said, ‘If I win the presidency, my judicial appointments will do the right thing, unlike Bush’s appointee John Roberts on ObamaCare,'” Feinstein said.
“You’ve been critical of Chief Justice Roberts for his 5-4 opinion upholding the law, stating that Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act ‘beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.’ This well could mean that if Judge Barrett is confirmed, Americans stand to lose the benefits that the ACA provides. So I hope you will clarify that in this hearing,” Feinstein added.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) added to Feinstein argument during his opening statement with a baseless attack on Barrett, calling her a “judicial torpedo.”
“This Supreme Court nominee has signaled in the judicial equivalent of all caps that she believes the Affordable Care Act must go, and that the precedent protecting the ACA doesn’t matter. The big secret to influences behind this unseemly rush sees this nominee as a judicial torpedo they are firing at the ACA,” Whitehouse said.
Democrats during the first day of the hearing largely refrained from attacking Barrett’s Catholic faith, with many saying they have no plans to do so the rest of the week.
“Did you hear one of us raise that issue?” Sen. Dick J. Durbin (D-Ill.) fired back in response to a reporters question. “We have taken an oath to the Constitution, which says no religious test. Enough said.”