Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks after she was nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on September 26, 2020.
OLIVIER DOULIERY | AFP | Getty Images
Presidential candidate Joe Biden and his Democratic allies seek to turn President Donald Trump's appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court into a referendum on the future of American health care.
Trump nominated the Indiana-based federal appellate judge to the Supreme Court Saturday night, praising her references, noting that future cases would determine the "survival of our second amendment, our religious freedom and our public safety."
Barrett's nomination left unsaid that the court would hear a case on November 10th that would question the legality of the Affordable Care Act, the health care overhaul signed by President Barack Obama.
Republican-led states backed by the Trump administration have asked the court to crush the law, which would likely leave tens of millions of Americans uncovered.
Trump has repeatedly said he would post a replacement plan but has not yet revealed one. On Sunday he repeated the promise in a post on Twitter, saying it was "a big win for the US!"
Barrett's confirmation to the court in time to hear the case would give the panel a conservative majority of 6 to 3 and increase the likelihood of the law being struck, although that outcome is far from certain.
Barrett's previous jurisprudence and writings suggest that she will be among the most conservative members of the court. Her replacement of the late Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg is expected to transform the court more than any other nomination since Justice Clarence Thomas succeeded Thurgood Marshall in 1991.
In a series of statements released after Barrett's confirmation went official, Biden and his fellow Democrats made it clear that they wanted to look into health care just under 40 days before election day.
Senator Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., the minority leader, said Americans "should make no mistake: A Senator vote for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to crush the Affordable Care Act and protect millions of Americans." eliminate preconditions. "
"With the appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, President Trump has put American health care back in the crosshairs," said Schumer.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi of California said Barrett's "nomination threatens the destruction of life-saving protection for 135 million Americans under pre-existing conditions, along with all the other benefits and protections of the Affordable Care Act."
Biden posted a six-paragraph message that focused almost entirely on Obamacare.
"If President Trump has his way, complications from COVID-19 such as lung scars and heart damage could become the next denial pre-existing condition," Biden said. "The American people know that the decisions of the US Supreme Court affect their daily lives."
The focus on healthcare reflects the Democrats' successful strategy during the 2018 Congressional election, but marks a departure from previous Supreme Court confirmatory battles. The use of the fight in health care has only increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has increased the demand for care while at the same time making millions of Americans afford it.
The battles over Judges Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were both initially marked by disputes over the process and allegations that the nominations had violated Washington standards. Kavanaugh's endorsement eventually became more personal after allegations of decades of sexual misconduct surfaced and forced the judge to defend his character.
This time around, the Democrats stay away from the personal details of Barrett's life. The judge, who has seven children, including two who have been adopted, would be the first female Supreme Court judge with school-age children.
Instead, party members have referred to Barrett's previous academic writings and statements criticizing the Health Act.
In particular, they cited a 2017 book review in which Barrett challenged Chief Justice John Robert's reasoning in the 2012 Supreme Court case that upheld Obamacare under Congressional tax powers.
Roberts, she wrote in the paper, "pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the law."
Barrett added in the article that Justice Antonin Scalia, the conservative heroine she worked for early in her career, derisively called the law "SCOTUSCare".
"For Justice Scalia and those who share his commitment to text, the action of a court is the fair application of the rule of law, which means going where the law goes," she wrote. "By doing this, it is inadmissible for the Court of Justice to falsify either the Constitution or a law in order to achieve what it deems to be a preferred outcome."
These comments are particularly important because Barrett identifies with Scalia's originalist view of the law, which emphasizes a careful reading of the text of a statute. When she was nominated on Saturday, Barrett said of Scalia, who died in 2016, that "his legal philosophy is mine too".
Carrie Severino, president of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, which supports Barrett's affirmation, downplayed Barrett's comments on Twitter on Saturday, saying that the "one-quote quote Democrats and their allies use is from a book review, not a verdict," no case you heard. "
"Nobody attacks pre-existing conditions, least of all Judge Barrett, a mother of seven children, one of whom has special needs," wrote Severino.
While the Democrats have said Barrett's approval would "repeal" the Affordable Care Act, that outcome is not guaranteed.
The law has stood up to Supreme Court scrutiny twice, and experts have found that the legal case brought in the dispute discussed on Nov. 10 is weaker than the previous one.
The case depends on whether the statute's individual mandate determination became illegal when Congress set the penalty at $ 0 in 2017, as the court previously upheld the mandate under Congressional tax powers.
Even if the court decides it's not lawful, it has to decide whether the rest of the law needs to be put down.
This question revolves around judges' views on a doctrine known as "severability," which generally does not split as much on the same partisan lines as other issues raised in relation to Obamacare.
For example, in a recent case, Conservatives Kavanaugh, Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito agreed to remove part of a robocall-related law. Kavanaugh wrote that the court “considers that an unconstitutional provision in a law is separable.
This view led many court observers to read the tea leaves as it may have implications for the Obamacare case.
The court's four liberal judges – Ginsburg and Judges Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer – also agreed that the law was severable.
Whether the court will actually end Obamacare is likely to be known months after the president's next term. A decision is expected by June 2021.