On Saturday, President Donald Trump officially announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, even though one of Ginsburg’s last wishes had been that her seat would not be filled until after the next presidential election. Waiting to replace her would have followed the precedent that Senate Republicans themselves set in 2016 when they refused to confirm Obama’s nominee, citing the imminent election — but now they say that circumstances are different since the White House and Senate are controlled by the same party. On CNN’s State of the Union this weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) presented what she called the “antidote” to Trump’s belligerence: voting.
First, she explained some of her most substantive issues with Judge Barrett herself. Barrett has previously expressed steep opposition to the Affordable Care Act, which has expanded health insurance opportunities for tens of millions of Americans through means like Medicaid expansion. Pelosi suggested that Trump was rushing to replace Ginsburg in order to get someone on his side during upcoming Supreme Court litigation over the health care law.
‘What I am concerned about is anyone that President Trump would have appointed was there to undo the Affordable Care Act. That is why he was in such a hurry, so he could have someone in place for the oral arguments, which begin November 10. It doesn’t matter what the process is here. What matters is what it means personally to the American people. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, that benefit will be gone. If you’re a woman, we will be back to a time where being a woman is a pre-existing medical condition.’
Pelosi noted other examples of major health policies that would be affected by the potential overturning of the Affordable Care Act, including the option for parents to have their adult children on their health insurance plans and the expansion of Medicaid around the country. She added:
‘Be hopeful. People have to be hopeful. This is unfortunate that the president would be so disrespectful and rush into this, but nonetheless, that’s what it is — but vote. The antidote to whatever he does is to vote, vote, vote. Vote for affordable care vote for your pre-existing condition, vote for your safety, vote for your health.’
“What I am concerned about is anyone that President Trump would have appointed was there to undo the Affordable Care Act. That is why he was in such a hurry,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says on President Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/T77kno2t0b
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) September 27, 2020
Some concerned observers have presented other potential responses to the Republican Party’s rushed Ginsburg replacement. For example, some have floated the option of adding seats to the Supreme Court, but it’s unclear if a majority of Senate Democrats would be on board with that option, During CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning, West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said that he did not support expanding the court, and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has not indicated that he actively supports the measure, either.
A more lasting solution could be the addition of Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., as states, which would give each locale two Senators, if present precedents are upheld. Republicans have complained about the possibility on the basis of the likely Democratic lean of those electorates — and the likelihood that their Senators would consistently be Democrats — but people don’t deserve political representation only if they support your own political party!