WA lawmakers, leaders weigh in as SCOTUS confirmation hearings begin
As confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett have begun in the Senate judiciary committee, many Democratic Washington state lawmakers and leaders continued to express their opposition to Barrett’s appointment to the Supreme Court.
Criticisms from Washington Democrats varied in their focus on Monday, from concerns that Barrett would rule against the Affordable Care Act, to how her confirmation violates a precedent previously set by Senate Republicans to not seat new Supreme Court justices in a presidential election year.
“Millions of people have already voted and millions more are voting now,” Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal said. “We must allow them to choose the next president and then allow that president to choose the nominee for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.”
If Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court, she will likely be seated prior to an upcoming challenge to the ACA, currently scheduled for the week before November’s election. If the ACA is struck down, Democrats worry it could have serious consequences for a nation still in the throes of an ongoing pandemic, especially with stalled negotiations in Congress over a new COVID relief bill.
“Your health care, and protections for patients with (pre-existing) conditions, are on the line in the fight against Republicans’ health care lawsuit and their far-right SCOTUS nominee,” Washington Sen. Patty Murray said Monday.
“Senate Republicans began Supreme Court hearings 24 days after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. It’s been over 200 days since they passed a COVID-19 relief bill,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said. “They are working harder to take away health care during a pandemic than to provide crucial help to the American people.”
Support among Republicans, though, remains strong. On Monday, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said that the assumption Barrett would rule against the ACA is “outrageous.”
Monday marks the first of four days of statements and testimony to start Barrett’s confirmation process.