Depending on who spoke, the narrative sounded completely different. Republicans and Democrats have never been farther apart before.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar made a compelling case to protect the Affordable Care Act in her opening statement during today’s hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
Like many of her colleagues, Senator Klobuchar spoke to the hearing’s rushed nature; however, also voicing her concerns for the protections afforded to Americans by the Affordable Care Act.
“You know they are trying to push through a justice who has been critical of upholding the Affordable Care Act, and they’re doing it in the middle of a pandemic,” she said.
The senator also added a personal testimonial when talking about how both her 92-year-old father and her husband were diagnosed with coronavirus during the pandemic.
“He ended up in the hospital for a week on oxygen with severe pneumonia,” she said of her husband.
And when speaking of her father the Senator said “I stood there outside his window in a mask, and he looked so small and confused,” she said. “I thought it was going to be the last time that I saw him. He miraculously survived.”
That was just the beginning; Democrats are keen on keeping the focus on American health care and mentioning the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s desire to wait until after the election to confirm a new justice.
The democrats made both clear and remained focus on that mission.
Vice President nominee and California Senator Kamala Harris also made strong remarks regarding health care.
“Republicans finally realized the ACA is too popular to repeal in Congress, so now they are trying to bypass the will of voters and have the Supreme Court do their dirty work,” and continued “If Republicans succeed in striking down the ACA, insurance companies will be able to deny coverage to children with serious conditions.”
Mrs. Harris also said the hearings should have been delayed due to COVID-19 and that the precautions to keep everyone safe had not been met.
Senator Lindsey Grahm of South Caroline said, “There’s nothing unconstitutional about this process. This is a vacancy that’s occurred through a tragic loss of a great woman, and we’re going to fill that vacancy with another great woman. The bottom line here is that the Senate is doing its duty constitutionally,”
This all set the stage for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to speak.
After being sworn in, Judge Barrett made her opening statement covering several topics.
When speaking of her mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Jude Barrett said –
“More than the style of his writing, though, it was the content of Justice Scalia’s reasoning that shaped me,” Barrett told lawmakers. “His judicial philosophy was straightforward: A judge must apply the law as written, not as the Judge wishes it were. Sometimes that approach meant reaching results that he did not like. But as he put it in one of his best-known opinions, that is what it means to say we have a government of laws, not of men.”
And when remembering Justice Ginsburg, Barret said,
“I have been nominated to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat, but no one will ever take her place,” she said. “I will be forever grateful for the path she marked and the life she led.”
And when studying arguments, the Judge said,
“In every case, I have carefully considered the arguments presented by the parties, discussed the issues with my colleagues on the court, and done my utmost to reach the result required by the law, whatever my preferences might be. I try to remain mindful that, while my court decides thousands of cases a year, each case is the most important one to the parties involved. After all, cases are not like statutes, which are often named for their authors. Cases are named for the parties who stand to gain or lose in the real world, often through their liberty or livelihood. When I write an opinion resolving a case, I read every word from the perspective of the losing party. I ask myself how I would view the decision if one of my children was the party I was ruling against. Even though I would not like the result, would I understand that the decision was fairly reasoned and grounded in the law? That is the standard I set for myself in every case, and it is the standard I will follow as long as I am a Judge on any court. “
It’s clear the Republicans believe in their constitutional mandate, and Democrats believe the voters should decide the court’s future with their votes, as republicans did in 2016.
On Tuesday, lawmakers will have 30 minutes each to ask SCOTUS nominee Barret questions.
Votes are scheduled for October 22nd.