July 27, 2021

Harris presses Barrett over Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare

In one of the Democrats’ more effective lines of attack on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, charged that Barrett had been picked by President Trump solely because she would vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“Prior to your nomination, were you aware of President Trump’s statements committing to nominate judges who will strike down the Affordable Care Act?” Harris asked Barrett. “And I’d appreciate a yes or no answer.”

Barrett said she wanted to “be very careful” with her answer because she was under oath. “As I’m sitting here, I don’t recall seeing those statements, but if … let’s see, I don’t recall seeing or hearing those statements, but I don’t really know what context they were in, so I guess I can’t really definitively give you a yes or no answer,” Barrett responded.

The back-and-forth between the two women came late in the first day of questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was significant because, if both presidential polls and congressional vote tallies hold, Harris will be the next vice president of the United States and Barrett will assume a seat on the high court.

A week after the presidential election that has the Biden-Harris ticket winning by a significant margin, the Supreme Court will rule in Texas v. California, a case that, if decided in favor of Texas, could nullify a key provision of the Obama-era health law, which extended insurance coverage to millions.

All day, Barrett — currently a federal appellate judge — resisted saying how she would rule in Texas v. California or any other case related to Obamacare, as the Affordable Care Act is informally known. More such cases are bound to come, as Republican attorneys general have consistently challenged the law’s constitutionality.

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