October 07, 2020

Feinstein: Rushed Supreme Court Process Ignores Public Health, Safety

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on the rush to hold Supreme Court confirmation hearings:

“It’s clear that Senate Republicans will stop at nothing to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett in time to participate in a November case that will decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act. This case could eliminate health insurance for millions and end protections for 130 million Americans with preexisting conditions.

“This is not what the public wants. By a wide margin (62% to 24%) the majority of Americans want the ACA upheld. They don’t want Senate Republicans to confirm another anti-ACA judge who could be the deciding vote in this case.

“Now, even as the rest of the Senate is shut down because of a coronavirus outbreak, Republicans have confirmed they still plan to hold a hearing next week, regardless of the possible health consequences for senators or staff.

“Evaluating a Supreme Court justice is the most important thing this committee does. We shouldn’t be putting lives at risk to jam a nominee through before the election. Senate Republicans should listen to the American people and delay this process until after the inauguration so we can properly do our job in a safe and serious manner.”

Background:

  • The majority of Americans (62%-24% percent) do not want the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act according to a recent Morning Consult poll. Even more support specific provisions such as prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions (72%) according to a Kaiser Family Foundation Survey.

  • The majority of Americans (57%-38%) want this Supreme Court vacancy filled by the next president, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll.

  • Before her appointment to the 7th Circuit, Judge Barrett criticized the Supreme Court’s opinions upholding the ACA.

    • “Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute,” Barrett said in 2012 when arguing that the decision in NFIB v. Sebelius was wrongly decided.

    • Barrett said that the dissent in the 2015 decision King v. Burwell had “the better of the legal argument.” Under Barrett’s interpretation of the case, 6.4 million Americans could have lost their health insurance if the state exchanges were declared ineligible for federal subsidies.
  • On November 10, 2020, the Supreme Court will hear a new challenge to the ACA, Texas v. California. If confirmed, Judge Barrett could be the deciding vote in the lawsuit supported by the Trump administration and Senate Republicans to strike down the ACA and eliminate health care for millions of Americans.
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