Oct 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Barrett defends past writings: "I am not hostile to the ACA"

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that she's not "hostile" toward the Affordable Care Act or any statute passed by Congress, defending a past writing in which she criticized Chief Justice John Roberts' opinion upholding the law.

Why it matters: Democrats' central message throughout the confirmation fight has been that Barrett was nominated in order to help President Trump and conservatives dismantle the ACA when the Supreme Court hears a lawsuit against it on Nov. 10.

  • Roughly 20 million Americans rely on Obamacare coverage, and millions more have pre-existing conditions that would render them unable to buy insurance without ACA protections.
  • Barrett insisted that she has never spoken to the White House about how she would rule on a potential case.

What she's saying: "I think that your concern is that because I critiqued the statutory reasoning, that I'm hostile to the ACA, and that because I'm hostile to the ACA, that I would decide a case a particular way — and I assure you that I'm not," Barrett told Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

  • "I'm not hostile to the ACA. I'm not hostile to any statute that you pass," she added.
  • Barrett doubled down on her stance that she does not want her role on the court to be about policymaking, stating, "I apply the law. I follow the law. You make the policy."

The big picture: Barrett's confirmation process began in the Senate on Monday and is on track to take less than a month. She's under intense scrutiny from Senate Democrats to outline how she would rule on abortion, health care and elections, but has repeatedly declined to voice her opinion on potential future cases.

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