October 01, 2020

Feinstein Speaks on Stakes of Supreme Court Nomination

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today spoke before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, and what’s at stake if she is confirmed. 

            “The president wants to move a nominee so quickly in large part because, on November 10, the Supreme Court will hear another challenge to the Affordable Care Act,” Feinstein said. 

            “Ten years after the court upheld the ACA – and after more than 70 votes to repeal it – President Trump and his allies again seek to use the courts to do what they have failed to do in the Congress. So it’s unsurprising, then, that this committee is dispensing with past practice and rushing a nominee through at breakneck speed.” 

            Video of her remarks are available here. Full text follows: 

            “When we convened last week, the president had not yet announced a nominee and the chairman had not yet announced a hearing schedule. Now, of course, we have both. 

            I think there are opportunities in the coming weeks to discuss Judge Barrett’s record – on women’s reproductive rights, employment discrimination, immigration – and I think we should not lose sight of what’s at stake in this nomination. 

            The president has promised to only appoint justices who will overturn the Affordable Care Act and roll back protections for those with pre-existing conditions. That is a very big deal. 

            In 2015, as a candidate, he specifically said this: “If I win the presidency, my judicial appointments will do the right thing unlike Bush’s appointee John Roberts on Obamacare.” 

            The president reaffirmed this commitment on Sunday, stating, “Obamacare will be replaced with a much better, and far cheaper, alternative if it is terminated in the Supreme Court.” 

            He added that the elimination of the Affordable Care Act would be “a big win for the United States.” 

            Do away with the Affordable Care Act and we have a big win – I don’t think so.

            It’s clear that Judge Barrett will deliver on the president’s promises if confirmed to the Supreme Court, in no small part because Judge Barrett has specifically criticized the court’s opinion upholding the Affordable Care Act. 

            So it’s equally clear, to this side I believe, that gutting the Affordable Care Act would be a tremendous loss for the nation, not, as the president put it, “a big win.” 

            Ending the ACA would imperil the 130 million non-elderly Americans with preexisting conditions. It would also put 12 million Americans who gained coverage through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion provisions at risk of losing their coverage during a deadly pandemic. 

            The president wants to move a nominee so quickly in large part because, on November 10, the Supreme Court will hear another challenge to the Affordable Care Act. 

            Ten years after the court upheld the ACA – and after more than 70 votes to repeal it – President Trump and his allies again seek to use the courts to do what they have failed to do in the Congress. 

            So it’s unsurprising, then, that this committee is dispensing with past practice and rushing a nominee through at breakneck speed. 

            This pace not only severely undermines the Senate’s ability to exercise our role of advice and consent, it also robs the American people of their ability to gauge the nominee and the kind of justice she will be on the court. 

            Mr. Chairman, the stakes are too high – for health care, for working Americans, for the environment. To rush this nominee onto the highest court, I believe, is a huge mistake. 

            I would urge the committee to delay consideration of Judge Barrett’s nomination and to safeguard the rights and protections that the American people depend on.”

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