5 interesting things said on day 1 of Barrett confirmation hearings

Dianne Feinstein focuses on healthcare: Stakes of Barrett’s nomination are ‘extraordinarily high’

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, focused extensively on the issue of healthcare during her opening remarks. She expressed concern that Barrett would overturn the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, should she be appointed to the bench.

“In filling Judge Ginsburg’s seat, the stakes are extraordinarily high for the American people — both in the short term and for decades to come. Most importantly, healthcare coverage for millions of Americans is at stake with this nomination,” she warned.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act on Nov. 10, which is after the presidential election.

Feinstein vowed that the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee would “focus on that subject” throughout Barrett’s confirmation hearings. Pointing out that Trump has "promised to appoint justices who will vote to dismantle" the ACA, she said they will be questioning Barrett particularly on her criticism of Chief Justice John Roberts' 5-4 decision to uphold Obamacare when the nominee noted in a 2017 article that Roberts "pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute."

Like many of her Democratic colleagues, Feinstein also shared the story of one of her constituents in an effort to illustrate the impact of overturning the ACA.

Feinstein recounted how her constituent, who had pre-existing conditions including C-sections and epilepsy, was able to obtain health insurance at a much lower price because of Obamacare. She explained that her constituent described the passage of the ACA as “like manna from Heaven.”

“We can’t afford to go back to those days when Americans could be denied coverage or charged exorbitant amounts,” she stressed. “That’s what’s at stake for many of us, for America, with this nomination.”

Feinstein closed her remarks by urging Senate Republicans to put Barrett’s nomination on hold, citing comments they had previously made about Supreme Court vacancies that occurred during an election year: “Simply put, I believe we should not be moving forward on this nomination, not until the election has ended and the next president has taken office.”

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