Democrats on Wednesday argued the speedy nature of the Judge Amy Coney Barrett confirmation process in the U.S. Senate is due to President Trump and Republicans desire to have another conservative judge on the Supreme Court in time to hear a Nov. 10 case on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and any litigation over the upcoming federal elections in November.
“There’s a political agenda here,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, Democrat from Illinois, referencing the unusual speed and timing of the nomination process. “Whether you are privy to it, part of it, notwithstanding, it has to do with the Affordable Care Act.”
Nov. 10th is the absolute date they have to fill the vacancy, if the president and those who support him and those who support the Republican platform are going to keep their promise to end the ACA.,” Durbin added. “They need that ninth justice and that’s why it has to be hurried. Unfortunately, that is the cloud, the orange cloud over your nomination as it comes before us.”
Democrats have also referred to President Trump’s assertion that nine justices are needed to decide any election-related cases as another reason for a quick confirmation. “I think this will end up in the Supreme Court,” said in September of the upcoming presidential election, “And I think it’s very important that we have nine justices.”
Republican senators have argued that the pending Obamacare case, Texas v. California will likely not lead to the overturning of the law, including popular provisions like a mandate that insurers must cover Americans with preexisting conditions.
Durbin and other Democrats have also raised the issue of new laws instituted by states that make it more difficult to vote, like voter I.D. laws and speculated that Judge Barrett would side with states that have passed these laws, as the Supreme Court has regularly done in recent years. Whether or not voter I.D. laws lead to lower turnout for poor and minority voters is a matter of academic debate.
Republicans argue these statues are designed to improve election security, though proven instances of voter fraud are rare. “There will be an effort to protect the ballot and also ensure easy voting, I don’t think they are contrary goals to the nation,” said Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator from South Carolina.