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.

Go deeper

Only 3% of Americans have no opinion on whether Barrett should join Supreme Court

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

Only 3% of Americans have no opinion on whether Judge Amy Coney Barrett should be confirmed to the Supreme Court, per a Gallup poll released Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's a historic low for those who have no opinion on a pick to the high court in Gallup's initial polling — previously, 19% had no opinion on Merrick Garland, Sonia Sotomayor and John Roberts — and it highlights the extremely polarized nature of today's politics.

Updated Oct 16, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: News Shapers unpack the SCOTUS confirmation hearings

On Friday, October 16 Axios' Mike Allen and Margaret Talev hosted a conversation to unpack the news of the day, including coverage of Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, featuring Sen. Chris Coons and Trump 2020 senior advisor for strategy Steve Cortes.

Steve Cortes discussed current national and state polls on the November election. According to Axios reporting, Biden maintains a double-digit lead over Trump nationally, but state polls are narrower.

  • On the importance of looking at states that will be key to securing Electoral College votes: "It's most important, I think, for us to highlight to our supporters, to everybody, that battleground state polls are what matter most,"
  • On Biden's double-digit lead: "In reality, they don't believe that they are up double digits nationally. We [at the Trump campaign] certainly don't believe that. And again, it's not a national election. It's a state by state election."

Sen. Chris Coons discussed the SCOTUS confirmation hearings, and expressed that Judge Amy Coney Barrett will likely to be confirmed by the Senate and appointed to the Supreme Court, barring a significant change from Republicans.

  • On the confirmation hearings: "The only thing that could happen to stop that at this point would be a real change of heart on the part of a number of our Republican colleagues."
  • Why Sen. Coons isn't voting to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett: "[Because of] her view towards reaching back and reexamining and overturning long-settled precedent...from labor rights and environmental protection, to Native American rights, to the rights of criminal defendants and privacy and health care."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Updated Oct 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court denies Pennsylvania GOP request to limit mail-in voting

Protesters outside Supreme Court. Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request from Pennsylvania's Republican Party to shorten the deadlines for mail-in ballots in the state. Thanks to the court's 4-4 deadlock, ballots can be counted for several days after Election Day.

Why it matters: It's a major win for Democrats that could decide the fate of thousands of ballots in a crucial swing state that President Trump won in 2016. The court's decision may signal how it would deal with similar election-related litigation in other states.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!