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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

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87, the Supreme Court announced Friday evening.

The big picture: Ginsburg had suffered from serious health issues over the past few years. As an attorney and then as a justice Ginsburg cemented a legacy as one of the foremost champions of women's rights, raising gender equality to a constitutional issue. Her death sets up a fight over filling a Supreme Court seat with less than 50 days until the election.

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

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