Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative judge with a stated opposition to the Affordable Care Act, was confirmed on Monday as a justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Only Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins defected, while Democrats boycotted the formal vote.
“After refusing a Democratic nominee to the Supreme Court because an election was eight months away, they will confirm a Republican nominee before an election that is eight days away,” Democratic Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said.
“The Republican majority is lighting its credibility on fire. This hypocritical, 180-degree turn is spectacularly obvious to the American people [who] will suffer the consequences of Judge Barrett’s far-right, out of the mainstream views for generations,” Schumer warned.
The high court now has three appointees of President Donald Trump and a 6-3 supermajority, potentially setting the stage for the president to sabotage the General Election – one in which polls show him trailing by double-digits.
“In the crudest possible disparagement of Justice Ginsberg’s work, the Senate has continued its court-packing with the confirmation of far-right extremist Amy Coney Barrett. Not only an insult to the memory of a tireless advocate for human rights, outspoken protector of equality and lifelong advocate for justice, the move is an unapologetic and hypocritical power grab by Trump and his co-conspirators in the Senate,” said Marcela Howell, president and CEO, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda.
Among the issues the Supreme Court will soon hear are Pennsylvania ballot extensions. Three Wisconsin petitions are also before the court that concern Democrats who have asked the justices to allow the counting of ballots six days after the election and whether COVID-19 vulnerable voters and others can secure replacement mail-in ballots by email.
In addition, a GOP candidate for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District has asked the court to intervene in a case concerning whether his election will take place on Nov. 3 or Feb. 9. Controversy arose after the recent death of Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate Adam Weeks which invoked the moving of the contest to next year as required by state law.
The court is preparing to hear whether a New York prosecutor will be given access to Trump’s financial documents from January 2011 to August 2019, including his tax returns.
It’s believed Coney would side with Trump, raising concerns that if the high court must decide the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, he will retain the office because he’s appointed Coney and two other justices – Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Many believe Barrett’s confirmation could signal the end of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision. In Mississippi, a federal judge struck down the law in November 2018, and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling late last year.
Another significant case facing the U.S. Supreme Court this fall – the Affordable Care Act – which Barrett has gone on record as opposing.
With no replacement for the health care law, it’s estimated that more than 22 million Americans would lose coverage. That number includes a large swath of African Americans and those with preexisting conditions.
“Without a replacement in place for Obamacare, the loss of this act will make things more difficult for those who need healthcare the most – the underrepresented and underserved communities and those with preexisting conditions,” said Dawon Hawkins, Chief People and Training Officer for the health care startup Xcelrate UDI.
Losing coverage could also prove devastating for women and expectant mothers, said Andrea Ippolito, a health tech expert and founder of SimpliFed, a company that assists mothers who breastfeed.
Barrett’s confirmation drew the ire of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
“Just days before voters elect the next president, with nearly 60 million ballots already cast, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Senate ignored the will of the people and installed another ideological soulmate for President Donald Trump on the Supreme Court,” Weingarten said in a statement.
“It’s a flagrant miscarriage of justice and it flies in the face of our representative democracy. In fact, McConnell and Judge Amy Coney Barrett said so themselves in 2016 when President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court nearly nine months before the presidential election. But, as usual, Senate Republicans have changed the rules and trampled on the voices of the very people who elected then.”
“At her confirmation hearing, she evaded questions on the right of Americans to have access to healthcare, Medicare and Social Security; she refused to acknowledge systemic racism and she was not clear that discriminatory barriers in voting exist . . . Her judicial philosophy closes every door that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg ever opened,” Weingarten said.