During the second day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Sen. Chris Coons voices concern that the Affordable Care Act could be overturned given President Trump’s criticism of it and Barrett’s previous statements about rulings on the law.
CHRIS COONS: I do think at the end of the day, what matters is removing any potential conflict here. Ensuring that there is confidence in our election, in the Supreme Court, and in its role, is critical. I have reached out to a number of my colleagues to implore them to step back from the timing of this confirmation, to consider the possible confluence of three different factors here-- an election, an ACA case, and a rush timing in the middle of a pandemic. And I would just urge them one more time to think seriously about stepping back from this timing of this confirmation.
That's not meant to impugn you, or suggest that in some way you've engaged in some inappropriate conversation. That's just the confluence of these events at this time, in this place. This election will have enormous consequences.
I am troubled by what you've written about the Affordable Care Act. I am more concerned that the president has tried over and over and over to get rid of the ACA, and that the American people have consistently said no. And that the consequences for a majority of Americans who rely on the ACA in the middle of a pandemic would be significant. And that the president has refused to embrace the American people's wishes and deliver some compelling alternative plan, and instead has taken the battle back to the Supreme Court, where it will be heard in just a month.
I think to reach out and to strike this critical statute down now would be the worst example of judicial activism, which my colleagues say they don't want, and which I hope will not happen. But 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. That's my reading. And you are entitled to that view.
But this body and the American people, we shouldn't kid ourselves. 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. Thank you, your honor.