Democratic Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen said Saturday they are not giving up on trying to defeat the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, saying her appointment was rushed in advance of the presidential election and that she threatened to undo abortion and LGBTQ rights, as well as access to affordable health care plans.
“By nominating Amy Coney Barrett and rushing the Senate to confirm her before November 3rd, President Trump is not only telling the American people that their voices in the upcoming election don’t matter, but also that he wants a justice who will try to dismantle the legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” Van Hollen said. “Donald Trump promised he would nominate a justice who would strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate a woman’s right to reproductive freedom. He has found that person in Amy Coney Barrett.”
Van Hollen called Barrett “an ultra-right wing jurist who falls way outside the judicial mainstream and will vote to dismantle many of the rights and freedoms we hold dear.”
Trump introduced Barrett at the White House Saturday, saying: “This should be a straightforward and prompt confirmation."
The high court appointment, Trump’s third, came eight days after Ginsburg died of complications from cancer.
“We should not take up the nomination,” Cardin said. “There really isn’t time for vetting. When you’re this close to an election, it should be the next president making this appointment.”
Republicans hold a 53-47 Senate majority, meaning Democrats would need four GOP votes to derail her nomination.
“We should do everything we possibly can to get the four votes we need on the Republican side,” Cardin said. “If this was a normal consideration, I would probably not make a final decision until I saw how the (Judiciary Committee) hearings went. That’s not going to be available during this confirmation process. I will not be voting for her.”
Cardin and Van Hollen both opposed Barrett’s appointment to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017. She was confirmed on a 55-43 Senate vote.
Barrett, 48, a Notre Dame Law School graduate, was a clerk for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. She appeared at the White House Saturday with her husband, Jesse, and their seven children.
Barrett “is known for her keen intellect, piercing legal analysis, and generous spirit,” the White House said in a prepared statement Saturday.
Cardin and Van Hollen have expressed concern about the potential implications of Barrett’s appointment on the the Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare.” Supreme Court arguments in the case are scheduled for Nov. 10.
Democrats have accused the Trump administration of trying to sabotage the health-care law that was partially undone when Congress repealed a mandate in 2017 that required most Americans to buy insurance or risk a tax penalty.
A group of Republican-led states, backed by Trump’s administration, are arguing in the high court that the law is unconstitutional.
Democrats say the GOP has not put forward an alternative plan and that millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions could lose coverage.
“We are in the middle of a pandemic and President Trump continues to do all he can to take away health coverage from millions of Americans,” Cardin said in a recent newsletter.