The Senate Judiciary Committee’s evaluation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court is underway on Capitol Hill. Democrats’ ranking member on the committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), pivoted Judge Barrett’s confirmation to a fight over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) right out of the gate.
Sen. Feinstein pushed the same fear mongering as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and other Democrats, claiming that Judge Barrett’s confirmation will mean the elimination of healthcare for millions of Americans.
"This well could mean that if Judge Barrett is confirmed, Americans stand to lose the benefits that the ACA provides," Feinstein continued. "More than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions...could be denied coverage or charged more to obtain health insurance."
Democrats’ highest representation on the committee treated the hearing as a discussion of the merits of the ACA, not a Supreme Court confirmation.
Sen. Feinstein's opening sounds more like a legislative markup hearing for the ACA. She is detailing the benefits under the ACA to a nominee who is not supposed to legislate from the bench. The best way to emphasize apolitical judging is not to try to sell a nominee on a policy.— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) October 12, 2020
Dems are going to pretend this is a finance hearing on Obamacare.— Josh Holmes (@HolmesJosh) October 12, 2020
The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments for the Trump administration’s lawsuit aimed at scrapping the ACA on November 10. The court upheld the ACA's individual mandate under Congress' taxing power, a decision that Judge Barrett disagreed with; Congress then did its legislative duty and repealed the provision. After the individual mandate was eliminated, the Trump administration argues that "the entire ACA thus must fall with the individual mandate.”
Sen. Feinstein’s gaslighting gives Americans watching Judge Barrett’s confirmation process a distorted view of the role of the judiciary. The court’s role is not to legislate from the bench, but to rule on the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress, as she well knows.