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Biden, fellow Democrats focus on healthcare in Supreme Court fight

33 Comments
By Lawrence Hurley and Joseph Ax

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and fellow Democrats on Sunday made it clear that their opposition to President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, will focus on the possibility she could cast a decisive vote to strike down the Obamacare health law.

With Republicans controlling the Senate, Democrats have little leverage to prevent a quick vote on Barrett before the Nov. 3 election and almost no hope of preventing her confirmation.

Instead, their attacks appeared aimed at energizing their political base with an issue that is already a talking point for Biden, who gave a speech on the subject in Wilmington, Delaware on Sunday.

Barrett could be on the court's bench for oral arguments on Nov. 10 in a case in which Trump and his Republican allies are seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - the 2010 law popularly known Obamacare. That could cost millions of Americans their healthcare coverage as well as protections for pre-existing health conditions.

"It’s no mystery what is happening here. President Trump is trying to throw out the Affordable Care Act. He has been trying to do this for four years," Biden said.

In a White House Rose Garden ceremony on Saturday, Trump announced Barrett, 48, as his selection to replace liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Sept 18 at age 87. Barrett said she would be a justice in the mold of her mentor, the late staunch conservative Antonin Scalia, who twice voted in favor of previous unsuccessful Obamacare challenges.

Her confirmation would result in a 6-3 conservative majority on the court.

Biden tied the fate of the law to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, in which more than 200,000 Americans have died.

"The clear focus is: this is about your healthcare. This is about whether or not the ACA will exist. This is about whether or not pre-existing conditions will continue to be covered. This is about whether or not a woman can be charged more for the same procedure as a man. This is about people's healthcare in the middle of a pandemic," Biden said.

Biden repeated his call that the winner of the presidential election should get to appoint the new justice.

Trump said on Twitter on Sunday that if the Supreme Court strikes down the health law, "Obamacare will be replaced with a MUCH better, and FAR cheaper, alternative."

Trump failed in attempts to repeal Obamacare when Republicans controlled the Senate and House of Representatives, and Republicans have yet to say what they would replace the law with.

'FULFILLING THAT PROMISE'

Democratic senators on Sunday echoed Biden's message, saying it would be a focus of questions Barrett will face during a multi-day confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee due to start on Oct 12.

"I want to ask her point blank ... whether or not her position is that we should end the Affordable Care Act providing health insurance for 20 million Americans and protections for Americans from one coast to the other from pre-existing conditions being used against them to buy health insurance," Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said on ABC's "This Week."

The hearing could offer a showcase to Biden's running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, who is a member of the committee. Harris, a former prosecutor, gained attention for her aggressive questioning of another Trump court Supreme Court appointee, Brett Kavanaugh, when he faced the committee in 2018.

Republican senators have made it clear they plan to have a final vote on Barrett before the election, with Senator Mike Lee saying on ABC that he did not expect a backlash at the polls because Trump had campaigned in 2016 on appointing conservative justices.

"This is exactly what he promised to do and he is fulfilling that promise," Lee said.

Lee said he believes Obamacare is unconstitutional but that it would be up to Barrett to vote as she saw fit.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said on Fox News Channel that the Democratic base is"going nuts" about the court vacancy and that activists are putting pressure on senators to "destroy" Barrett.

Trump has urged Republicans, who hold a 53-47 Senate majority, to confirm Barrett, a federal appeals court judge and a favorite of religious conservatives, before the election. He has said he expects the justices to have to resolve the election, which has prompted Democrats to say Barrett should recuse herself from such cases.

The only time in U.S. history that the Supreme Court has had to resolve a presidential election was in 2000.

Barrett is expected to begin meetings with individual senators on Tuesday.

Like Trump's two other appointees, Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, Barrett is young enough that she could serve for decades in the lifetime job, leaving a lasting conservative imprint.

Barrett, a devout Roman Catholic who earned her law degree and taught at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, was appointed by Trump to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017.

An emboldened Supreme Court conservative majority could shift the United States to the right on hot-button issues by, among other things, curbing abortion rights, striking down gun control laws, halting the expansion of LGBT rights, and endorsing new restrictions on voting rights.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

33 Comments

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President Trump is trying to throw out the Affordable Care Act. He has been trying to do this for four years,

Trump has 'promised' many times he's got a better-than-Obamacare health plan.

But then Trump also promised Mexico would pay for his wall.

And he'd release his tax forms.

And the corona virus would go away without a vaccine. Etc etc etc.

Not a word Trump, anyone in his admin, anyone from the Republicans rapid response team, and most of his supporters say can be believed.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Their opposition no longer matters. Trump will get his third justice. If Dems retail the House and gain the Senate and presidency, they need to expand the court to 13 justices and then appoint three young liberals.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Trump is a tool for the 'elite' 'establishment', especially those in the DC legal swamp. He's doing the bidding of the Federalist Society.

Within the Federalist Society, is an operation funded by dark money and designed to remake our judiciary on behalf of a distinct group of very wealthy anonymous funders.

https://www.whitehouse.senate.gov/news/speeches/the-third-federalist-society

 Federalist Society had reached an "unprecedented peak of power and influence." Of the current eight members of the Supreme Court of the United States, five (Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito), along with nominee Amy Coney Barrett, are current or former members of the organization

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This is the right approach. Protection for pre-existing conditions is a winning message. Maybe not for Trump cultists who will foolishly vote against their own self interests, but for enough sane on-the-fence voters to tip the Senate.

And the Dems need to leave Roe out of it. Her position is well-known. What isn’t as well known is her opposition to the ACA, more liberal gun regulations, anti-regulation in general. Think Scalia in a dress...and I apologize in advance for putting that picture in your head.

NY Times: Trump paid $750 in US income taxes in 2016, 2017

https://news.yahoo.com/ny-times-trump-paid-750-214154920.html

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Trump is also discussing overturning Roe Vs Wade with his Republican leaning supreme court.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/sep/27/trump-amy-coney-barrett-supreme-court-roe-v-wade

In doing so, it would erode the constitutional separation of church and state.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The news on Trump's tax returns are no surprise whatsoever - I have said here a number of times that his tax returns would show that he doesn't pay tax and so it is no surprise that that is exactly what they show.

A bit off topic maybe, but he will be desperate to throw a diversion to shrug off this news. Keeping the focus on the Supreme Court appointment will help him keep that the focus of the news.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Everybody except the fooled knows the teleprompted Trump is a tool, of the Federalist Society and other moneyed, reactionary special interest groups who have provided him with the protection of the "Emperor's New Clothes". However, the tipping point has already arrived as Biden/Harris now head into the final stretch provided with the tailwind of the majority of Americans who are loudly voicing their opposition to the disastrous four years of Trump's malfeasance and misgovernment: "Vote him out!" is the writing on the wall which the appointment of ACB to the USSC will not erase.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

With Republicans controlling the Senate, Democrats have little leverage to prevent a quick vote on Barrett before the Nov. 3 election and almost no hope of preventing her confirmation.

It doesn't matter what tactics the Harris/Biden ticket attempts to perform for Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearing. Amy Coney Barrett will be the next Supreme Court Justice. And there is nothing that the democrat party can do about it. However, it will be amusing to watch elected democrats in the U.S. Senate alienating independent voters with their childish attacks on a highly qualified jurist, who is also a woman. Will the "me too" movement jump to Barrett's defense?

Every elected democrat has flip-flopped their 2016 position on whether a President should select a Supreme in the months before a Presidential election. That was then, this is now. Do as we say, not as we do. Just believe what we're telling you now, and forget what we told you in the past.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Trump has 'promised' many times he's got a better-than-Obamacare health plan.

Democrats had promised that Obamacare is affordable and it's not, so how is it great when I can't afford the thing and I have to pay for extra subsidies that i will never use?

But then Trump also promised Mexico would pay for his wall.

The wall is coming along fine, that's the only thing that matters at this point.

And the corona virus would go away without a vaccine. Etc etc etc.

Democrats have already stated they don't trust Trump and this vaccine (as if mixed it himself ROFL!) and they are the ones that said to listen to the experts, now they're once again contradicting themselves? Unbelievable.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Dem senators, you can’t stop this.

Absolutely nothing you can dig up will change a single republican vote. Going “full Kavanaugh” is counterproductive, and while the Senate GOP deserves no respect of any kind, that’s not true for Judge Barrett, who at this point is guilty of nothing more than being a successful conservative woman. You (we) may well sorely regret trying to destroy her.

do NOTHING to allow McConnell to claim the high ground on anything. You will not shame him. He has none. Graham can’t back down an inch now that he’s already set course and is on Fox begging for money. You probably can shame him, but he can’t back down even if he wants to. Getting nasty with Judge Barrett is a waste of time and a losing strategy.

win the election and save that fury for those who deserve it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If Dems retail the House and gain the Senate and presidency, they need to expand the court to 13 justices and then appoint three young liberals.

Packing the court would be a bad precedent. I agree that the Republicans are being extremely hypocritical with this, but even if the Democrats win the House, Senate, and Presidency, they won't keep it forever. Who wants the Republicans to pack the court once they get back control at some point in the future? I don't. Lick your wounds with this loss and then use legislation (not the courts) to make the changes that are needed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

To the Honorable Senator Hawley, as long as the questioning is respectful. Senate Dems can ask judge Barrett any damned question they want. Your “warning” to Schumer is, to use your lexicon, playing the race card. No sure why you don’t think anyone knows what up to.

BTW, it’s been 20 years but I’m pretty damned sure the term is Strict Constructionist NOT Constitutionalist. y’all made that term up

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Every elected democrat has flip-flopped their 2016 position on whether a President should select a Supreme in the months before a Presidential election. That was then, this is now. Do as we say, not as we do. Just believe what we're telling you now, and forget what we told you in the past.

Every elected Democrat? Really. Republicans didn’t? You know that they did.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I get it. The ACA is not perfect, and should be bolstered to make it better. But I sure hope the GOP doesn't try to slap together an eight hour plan like they did in 2017. Back then, it was clear that their only purpose for putting that awful "plan" together was to get rid of Obamacare and feel proud of themselves. Conservatives cared nothing for Americans and put party before country. Thank God for McCain, Collins, and Murkowski for their level-headed thinking. Otherwise, millions of Americans would have suffered.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Every elected democrat has flip-flopped their 2016 position on whether a President should select a Supreme in the months before a Presidential election. That was then, this is now. Do as we say, not as we do. Just believe what we're telling you now, and forget what we told you in the past.

Im pretty damned cynical, but that someone is actually shameless enough to try to sell this is stunning.

gonna tell us a Rainbow Trout is actually a tree climbing reptilian marsupial from Kodiak island next?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Every elected Democrat? Really. Republicans didn’t? You know that they did.

Both sides flipped and flopped on the SC issue and neither side can point fingers at the other and no one holds the moral high ground on this and the fact of the matter is, Dems can't do anything about this process, they will just have to suck it up and take it, hold a deep breath and that'll be it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Packing the court would be a bad precedent. I agree that the Republicans are being extremely hypocritical with this, but even if the Democrats win the House, Senate, and Presidency, they won't keep it forever. Who wants the Republicans to pack the court once they get back control at some point in the future? I don't. Lick your wounds with this loss and then use legislation (not the courts) to make the changes that are needed.

I completely agree that packing the court is a very bad idea as it would simply continue the erosion of an institution that underpins the American democratic republic.

We are in this situation because the repubs kept blocking Obama nominations for federal judges, so senate rules were changed to only requiring a simple majority for confirmation. Then, as a reaction to McConnell having refused to allow the senate to do its constitutional duty to hold confirmation hearings on Obama’s last SCOTUS nomination, Dems kept blocking Trump’s SCOTUS nominations. This led McConnell to yet again change the Senate rules so only a simple majority was needed to confirm SCOTUS nominations.

You can easily see the erosion of the judicial branch in this series of events.

The issue with using legislation to make the changes needed is that the courts have the final say in whether that legislation is constitutional. Once it’s declared in unconstitutional by SCOTUS, it no longer addresses the needed changes. Furthermore, it requires a very different SCOTUS and good reason to overturn the precedent that announced the legislation as unconstitutional.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

actually the opposite. This is the Dems and their media trying to distract from losing the Supreme Court appointment. moved on to the latest anti Trump narrative, as usual. after they lose the debate this week, back to some sexual or racial allegation again. never ending circular news cycle

Keeping the focus on the Supreme Court appointment will help him keep that the focus of the news.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

We are in this situation because the repubs kept blocking Obama nominations for federal judges,

I'm a conservative as are the conservatives I vote for and support, why on earth would these people appoint a liberal or even a left to center federal judge? Leave the emotion out of this for a moment, No right and level headed person would do that and the opposite holds true for the Democrats, they would never allow a hearing on a Trump nominee, never and you guys know this, not to mention Garland wasn't the GOPs ideal model for a true conservative and the Republican Senate constitutionally didn't have to hold hearings on a nominee they feel is not an idealogical purest,

so senate rules were changed to only requiring a simple majority for confirmation. Then, as a reaction to McConnell having refused to allow the senate to do its constitutional duty to hold confirmation hearings on Obama’s last SCOTUS nomination, Dems kept blocking Trump’s SCOTUS nominations. This led McConnell to yet again change the Senate rules so only a simple majority was needed to confirm SCOTUS nominations.

Thanks to Harry Reid for getting rid of the filibuster, he did help in making the process that much more easier.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday called for abolishing the legislative filibuster, citing unprecedented gridlock in the Senate.

https://www.politico.com/amp/story/2019/08/12/harry-reid-abolishing-filibuster-1459154

Weird that Harry Reid would be calling for the filibuster to be abolished AFTER he got rid of it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

legislative filibuster. Which is different from the others he got rid of to help us get judges and the Supreme Court nominees.

thanks again Harry!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

This is interesting:

HHS secy contrasts Obamacare 'lies' with Trump's new healthcare plan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRpPDAw8JHE&t=246s

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

hey can I keep my doctor this time?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

hey can I keep my doctor this time?

You people will never learn that you cannot win the “BUT he lied!” game if you support Trump.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Weird that Harry Reid would be calling for the filibuster to be abolished AFTER he got rid of it.

And yet, he did and in the end, it helps speed the SC process that much faster with less opposition from Dems, so they should be quiet and let this inevitable take place.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Did Trump tell me I could keep my doctor? I dont think he has mentioned that yet. While the other person who did mention that specifically, he would be a liar.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

You people will never learn that you cannot win the “BUT he lied!” game if you support Trump.

What? Sorry, that dancing around doesn't help Dems and it doesn't help Biden.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The ACA will be fine. This latest challenge is their weakest yet.

Besides, the GOP hopes the challenge will fail as their have no alternative. Suddenly pre-existing conditions won't be covered and their base will hold them responsible.

Bass:. so how is it great when I can't afford the thing

Huh? You get free socialist coverage from the US government as does most of your family who you claim is in law enforcement or the military.

And you don't even live in the US.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Did Trump tell me I could keep my doctor? I dont think he has mentioned that yet. While the other person who did mention that specifically, he would be a liar.

Mexico will pay for the wall.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The ACA will probably stand, but go belly up when it comes to premiums, if they can’t afford them which is the growing case the ACA will die a slow and in my opinion a justified death because you don’t and will never have enough people to keep it properly afloat for very long. It’ll be like a wounded animal that’s on its last leg and that is exactly what the ACA is.

Huh? You get free socialist coverage from the US government as does most of your family who you claim is in law enforcement or the military.

And you don't even live in the US.

Not US blanketed cradle to grave entitlements for the entire nation and there’s no way the system can afford to do this for 320 million people it just won’t happen and if the Dems win, they’ll bankrupt the country faster than Busta Rhymes can’t spit out lyrics

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

We’re signing a health-care plan within two weeks, a full and complete health-care plan. - Donald Trump, July 19, 2020.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Bass:. if they can’t afford them which is the growing case the ACA will die a slow and in my opinion a justified death

Then give us an alternative. You've had a decade. I'm more than happy to support a better plan if you can produce one.

if the Dems win, they’ll bankrupt the country

But the numbers show Obama shrank the deficit by half and Trump doubled it. You are using stereotypes rather than actual data.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Then give us an alternative. You've had a decade.

And Democrats had 8 years make the ACA affordable and they didn’t do that.

I'm more than happy to support a better plan if you can produce one. 

I have private insurance, so...

But the numbers show Obama shrank the deficit by half and Trump doubled it.

And if Biden gets in estimates are he’ll triple what Trump accumulated

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

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