Editor’s Note: The following are comments from leaders across the nation expressing outrage over the unprecedented confirmation of Amy Coney Barret to the United States Supreme Court:
Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus
This entire confirmation process has made a mockery out of the highest court in the land. Today’s (Oct. 27) vote to confirm Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court is an affront to democracy as we know it – women, vulnerable communities, and working families are going to suffer because of this for generations to come.
The United States is just a few days away from one of the most consequential elections of our lifetime. Millions of Americans have already cast their ballots, but Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans jammed through this illegitimate confirmation with no regard for giving the American people a say in this process.
As leaders of the Pro-Choice Caucus, we are fully aware of the danger this nomination presents to women around the country. President Trump has spent years promising to only nominate justices who are hostile towards abortion. During the 2016 election, he campaigned on his commitment to nominating justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. And despite Republicans’ unwillingness to publicly acknowledge their intent to strip women of their constitutional rights, we’ve always known that the nominee to replace the late Justice Ginsburg would be a vessel through which they could do so.
It comes as no surprise that Judge Barrett’s record reflects years of hostility towards Roe and access to reproductive care. Tonight’s confirmation is a devastating development in our decades long fight for reproductive freedom. But we are going to ensure officials at every level of government in every state across the country are committed to protecting reproductive freedoms, especially for low-income and women of color. This fight is not over with this confirmation. Let this serve as a renewed commitment to continuing our work in Congress and in the states.
U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) are Co-Chairs Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus.
Democratic Women’s Caucus
The Senate GOP’s rushed and sham confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court should alarm all Americans. With just eight days to go before the end of the 2020 election, and nearly 63 million votes already cast nationwide, Senator McConnell ignored the pleas of the American people to provide COVID relief and chose to ram through approval of Justice Barrett – making good on threats to turn back the clock on decades of progress made in access to health care, reproductive freedom, women’s rights, civil rights, voter protections, and more.
The vote for Justice Barrett was a vote to invalidate the ACA, threatening protections for preexisting conditions for 135 million Americans and stripping 20 million Americans of their health insurance coverage amid a health and economic crisis. Without the ACA, women will lose the first prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex in health care and can once again be charged more for health insurance. Being a woman will once again be a preexisting condition and insurance companies will be able to treat maternity, newborn, and preventative care, including mammograms and cervical cancer screenings, as a luxury.
Justice Barrett’s record on Roe v. Wade is equally disturbing and threatens the lives, dignity, and autonomy of women across América. Her support for abortion restrictions designed to undermine a woman’s fundamental right to choose stands in stark contrast with the 77 percent of Americans who don’t want Roe overturned.
The vote to confirm Justice Barrett is also a vote to undermine protections for survivors of sexual violence, especially for students at colleges and universities. It’s a vote to uphold racial discrimination and LGBTQ discrimination as well as bolster Republicans’ effort to intimidate and silence voters, particularly voters of color.
Instead of answering the American people’s pleas for relief as the COVID-19 pandemic has now claimed the lives of more 225,000 Americans, infected more than 8.7 million Americans, and left more than 23 million workers unemployed, Senator McConnell and Senate Republicans opted to expeditiously confirm a justice to a lifetime appointment. Women continue to be disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, with nearly one million leaving the workforce just in September, yet Senate Republicans are making their priorities crystal clear: move forward with their illegitimate Supreme Court Justice rather than find a compromise on COVID-19 relief legislation for American workers, families, and small businesses.
The actions taken by Senate Republicans today did not serve the American people and as President Trump so often tells those who oppose him, we will remember this and so will they.
Representatives Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Jackie Speier (CA-14) are Co-Chairs of the Democratic Women’s Caucus (DWC) and Representatives Veronica Escobar (TX-16) and Deb Haaland (NM-01) are Vice Chairs of the Democratic Women’s Caucus.
The lifetime appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court is a tragic blow to all of us who are fighting day in and day out to protect abortion access. Knowing that Justice Ginsburg, who dedicated her life to fighting for reproductive rights, has been replaced by someone who does not believe Roe v. Wade is worthy of respect and could be the deciding vote to overturn a woman’s constitutionally-guaranteed right to access abortion care, is nothing short of infuriating. Here in Colorado, reproductive rights are on the ballot, and today’s confirmation means we need to fight even harder to protect abortion care. That means defeating Proposition 115, an intentionally confusing ban on abortion later in pregnancy with no exceptions for rape, incest, risks to a woman’s health or if she receives a lethal fetal diagnosis. Colorado voters have long trusted women and their families to make the medical decisions that are right for them, without political interference, and in eight days Coloradans will once again make it clear: abortion bans have no place in our state.
Lucy Olena is the campaign manager for the No on 115 campaign in Colorado.
Vice President Joe Biden
The rushed and unprecedented confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett as Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, in the middle of an ongoing election, should be a stark reminder to every American that your vote matters.
Just a few days after Election Day next week, the Supreme Court will hear the case on the Affordable Care Act. While panicked and erratic in mishandling the pandemic, Donald Trump has been crystal clear on one thing — for the past four years, and again just last night (Oct.26) on 60 Minutes — he wants to tear down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety and take away your health care and protections for pre-existing conditions.
This goal — the goal of the Republican Party for ten years — was a litmus test in selecting this nominee, regardless of the damage done to the U.S. Senate, to Americans’ faith in the legitimacy of the Supreme Court, and to our democracy, and regardless of how the Affordable Care Act has protected hundreds of millions of people before and during the pandemic.
But we will not give up. If you want to protect your health care, if you want your voice to be heard in Washington, if you want to say no, this abuse of power doesn’t represent you — then turn out and vote.
Vote for a president, for Members of Congress, and candidates up and down the ticket who actually have a plan for health care, and who will build on the Affordable Care Act to expand coverage, bring down costs, and give you more choices.
Vote to protect the fundamental idea that health care is a right, not a privilege.
And vote for the legacy of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was proof that courage, conviction, and moral clarity can change not just the law, but also the world. Let us continue to be voices for justice in her name.
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