Senate Democrats on Saturday immediately labeled President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett a health care villain and vowed to block her confirmation.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said a vote for Judge Barrett would be a vote to dismantle Obamacare, as the fate of the Affordable Care Act will be before the high court in November.
“President Trump has once again put Americans’ healthcare in the crosshairs,” said the New York Democrat, sounding a familiar alarm from his party about Mr. Trump’s nominee.
But Mr. Trump’s opponents face a difficult task in demonizing Judge Barrett, a devout Catholic and mother of seven children who would be the first female justice with school-age children.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, objected that Judge Barrett would reverse abortion rights and health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
“President Trump has guaranteed that Judge Barrett will deliver on these and so many other conservative priorities. In doing so, Judge Barrett would stand as the polar opposite to the vision of America that Justice Ginsburg fought for decades to achieve,” she said. “The Senate should not consider any Supreme Court nominee until the American people have spoken in November and the next president has been inaugurated.”
If confirmed to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Judge Barrett would tilt the ideological balance of the high court to a 6-3 conservative majority, a swing that outrages Democrats who say the president has broken precedent to rush the nomination of Judge Barrett with just 37 days until the Nov. 3 election.
“I’m going to do all I can to fulfill Justice Ginsburg’s last wish,” said Sen Patty Murray of Washington, a member of the Senate Democratic leadership team, referring to Justice Ginsburg’s deathbed request that she be replaced after the November election.
Senate Democrats, however, have few tools to slow down the process or block the confirmation now that Republicans have lined up the votes to proceed.
Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat on the Judiciary Committee that will hold confirmation hearings, said he was “deeply concerned” about moving forward.
“With voting already underway in half the states in our presidential election and in the midst of a global pandemic that has infected 7 million Americans, we should not be proceeding with a nomination to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat,” he said.
“We need to be clear-eyed about what’s at stake. President Trump pledged that his nominee will strike down the Affordable Care Act, and just one week after the election, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that seeks to do just that.”