Jul 1, 2018

Inside the Democratic strategy to oppose Trump's Supreme Court pick

Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Democrats plan to make health care the central issue in their fight to oppose whomever Trump picks to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

What they're saying: Here's Democratic leader Chuck Schumer framing the strategy on the Senate floor Wednesday: "This is the most important Supreme Court vacancy for this country in at least a generation. Nothing less than the fate of our health care system...[is] at stake."

Democrats plan to keep hammering two arguments:

  1. That Kennedy's replacement will tip the court into deep social conservatism and will ultimately lead to abortion becoming illegal in America.
  2. That Kennedy's replacement will ultimately vote to overturn the Affordable Care Act, removing protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Why this matters: Democrats believe these arguments will resonate with voters whom polls show are already worried about their health care under Republican leadership. Democrats also think they'll resonate with the swing vote senators needed to confirm Kennedy's replacement — many of whom support abortion rights and voted against Trump's efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

  • "Republicans had hoped they put a band aid on the self-inflicted wounds that came from health care repeal and gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions," Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson told me.
  • "Then, Donald Trump ripped the band aid off with his lawsuit to overturn those protections and now the fight over his Supreme Court Justice will pick the scab."  

Go deeper: Read Axios' Sam Baker on the Trump Justice Department's decision to not defend the Affordable Care Act in court, including "the provision of the law that forces insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions."

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