WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, questioned Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, on her views on the Affordable Care Act and potential 2020 elections cases.
Sen. Coons pressed Judge Barrett on her previous criticism of the Supreme Court’s pivotal 5-4 decision in NFIB v. Sebelius upholding the Affordable Care Act, “As I read this, [Judge Barrett], you are saying to Chief Justice Roberts, you are no textualist, you have overreached, you have delivered an implausible conclusion, and frankly, I disagree with your upholding the constitutionality of this statue. That seems to me […] a plain reading of your own writing.” Judge Barrett admitted she disagrees with the ruling in the case.
She tried but failed to show that this new challenge to the Affordable Care Act is different from NFIB v. Sebelius which, in 2012, upheld the Affordable Care Act. Barrett said, “I think severability is one of the most important issues in the case […] NFIB v. Sebelius also is interpreting a different provision [from California v. Texas]. It was [an individual mandate] that wasn't zeroed out, that actually had money attached to it.”
Sen. Coons said to Judge Barrett, “I am gravely concerned by what I see. Your Honor, I believe your views are sincere, but I also think you genuinely think the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional […] Bluntly, if our president and the majority are able to swing the Court out of balance by replacing Justice Ginsburg by someone whose views may be significantly to the right, the health of a majority of Americans may well be in peril.”
Additionally, Judge Barrett declined to say she’ll recuse herself from SCOTUS decisions on the 2020 election results, despite previous comments by President Trump about the Court deciding the election:
Sen. Coons: Given what President Trump said, given the rushed context of this confirmation, will you commit to recusing yourself from any case arising from a dispute in the presidential election results three weeks from now?
Barrett: I promise you that, if I were confirmed and if an election dispute arises – you know both of which are ifs – that I would very seriously undertake that process and I would consider every relevant factor. I can't commit to you right now for the reasons that we talked about before, but I do assure you of my integrity and I do assure you that I would take that question very seriously.
Full audio and video available here.