Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer harshly criticized President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, saying Judge Amy Coney Barrett “could tear down everything” late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “built” during her tenure. In a statement Saturday, Schumer focused on the consequences of Barrett’s confirmation on health care.
Any senator who votes to confirm Trump’s nominee would be voting “to strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Schumer said. With his nomination, Trump “has once again put Americans’ healthcare in the crosshairs.,” he added. Schumer also warned that Barrett’s confirmation would cement the court’s “far-right majority” and “could also turn back the clock on women’s rights and a woman’s right to choose, workers’ rights, voting rights, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, environmental protections and more.”
Highlighting the unprecedented nature of the vacancy, Schumer said that Trump and Republican senators are “shamelessly rushing to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat less than 40 days before a presidential election.” And in the process they’re not only ignoring “Ginsburg’s dying wish … that she not be replaced until a new president is installed” but also seeking to “replace her with someone who could tear down everything that she built.” Schumer added: “This reprehensible power grab is a cynical attack on the legitimacy of the Court.”
Some Democrats have already made clear they will take no part in the confirmation process. Two of the 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee—Sens. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut)—said they won’t be sitting down with Barrett. “I will refuse to treat this process as legitimate & will not meet with Judge Amy Coney Barrett,” Blumenthal said at the end of a Twitter thread in which he explains why he will oppose her confirmation. Hirono also wrote a thread explaining her opposition and a spokesman for the senator confirmed she won’t be meeting with the nominee. “Whatever she has to say to me, she should say it under oath,” Hirono had said earlier this week. Sen. Dick Durbin, the Democratic whip who is also a member of the Judiciary Committee, said he will be meeting with Barrett because it is “not only respectful, but it’s important.”
In his statement opposing the nomination, Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vermont) points out that “Ginsburg hasn’t even been laid to rest yet.”