Senate Leader: Democrats Using ‘Scare Tactics’ Against Barrett Nomination

October 2, 2020 Updated: October 2, 2020

Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called out the Democrats’ claim that if confirmed, Judge Amy Coney Barrett would strike down healthcare for those with pre-existing conditions, as a part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Democrats have criticized President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, saying she will strike down the ACA. Several Senate Democrats have said they will not meet with judge Barrett, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Maize Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), listing one of the main reasons as her position on the ACA.

Schumer took to Twitter Sept. 29 to share his reason for not meeting with Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

“I am not going to meet with Judge Barrett. Why would I meet with a nominee of such an illegitimate process and one who is determined to get rid of the Affordable Care Act?” Wrote Schumer on Sept. 29.

McConnell criticized Democrats for dismissing judge Barrett’s legal qualifications.

“The Democratic leader says, quote: ‘It’s not her qualifications.’ … Certainly, every senator may define advise, and consent how they wish, but I think it’s telling to see Senate Democrats openly affirming that judge Barrett’s actual and judicial qualifications do not matter to them,” said McConnell from the Senate floor Wednesday, Sept. 30.

McConnell said that Democrats “see the court as an unelected super-legislature” and that judges are there to “dictate policy outcomes, rather than following the facts and text, wherever they lead.”

Barrett said at her recent nomination ceremony that If confirmed, “I would discharge the judicial oath, which requires me to administer justice without respect to persons, do equal right to the poor and rich, and faithfully and impartially discharge my duties under the United States Constitution.”

McConnell criticized Democrats for using “scare tactics” on the public.

“That’s why we’ve gotten the same scare tactics for almost half a century—John Paul Stevens was going to end women’s rights. David Souter was going to send vulnerable people into the Dark Ages. John Roberts was going to declare war on health insurance,” said McConnell.

“And now our Democratic colleagues want Americans to believe that judge Barrett is on a one-woman crusade to hurt Americans with pre-existing conditions,” added McConnell.

Schumer wrote on Twitter, “Make no mistake: A vote by any Senator for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.”

Schumer’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) claimed that Barrett’s “nomination threatens the destruction of life-saving protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions together with every other benefit and protection of the Affordable Care Act.”

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) also criticized Barrett as the nominee that will allow the Supreme Court to strike down the ACA.

“Republican senators are working extra hard to take away pre-existing condition coverage. As they rush forward with an anti-ACA nominee, they also voted today to make sure the ACA lawsuit continues. Insurance company executives must be thrilled,” Senator Jeff Merkley wrote Thursday.

The Oklahoman reported that Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), said it would be a “humanitarian catastrophe” to repeal the act in the middle of a pandemic. “And so, guess why it is so important that we confirm a justice before election day,” Murphy said. “Because they need the votes to invalidate the Affordable Care Act shortly after the election occurs.”

McConnell called the Democrats’ comments, “Totally predictable and totally dishonest.”

“These baseless attacks over healthcare are supposedly founded on a technical argument and a four-year-old scholarly article. Then-Professor Barrett analyzed the Supreme Court’s ruling on one piece—one piece—of Obamacare: the unfair, unpopular individual mandate penalty,” McConnell said.

He noted that this one piece of the ACA was “zeroed out” by Republicans in Congress three years ago. “The Constitutional arguments over whether that terrible idea was a penalty or a tax are now moot.”

“Working Americans are no longer penalized by that Democrat policy; Americans with pre-existing conditions are still protected,” he added.