WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett faced her first day’s worth of questions Tuesday from Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and it was a calmer affair than other recent confirmation hearings.
With public attendance limited by the coronavirus pandemic and Democrats staying focused on a health care message just three weeks ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election, the back and forth was serious, disciplined and mostly uninterrupted — save a few technical glitches from those participating virtually.
But similar to past hearings, Barrett avoided taking positions on a variety of subjects and rulings, saying it would be inappropriate to do so.
Takeaways from day two of the confirmation hearing:
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Barrett repeatedly declined to give her personal views, or to preview how she might rule, on key issues that could become before the court. Like other Supreme Court nominees before
Texas Democrats are making health care the heart of their final pitch as they look to flip the state House, which Republicans have held since 2002.
In a “contract with Texas” that Democrats are rolling out Thursday and which was shared first with The Hill, the party is touting policies it would try to enact should it flip the net nine seats it needs to gain control of the chamber. The central pillar of the plan is expanding Medicaid in Texas, which has the highest number and rate of uninsured people in the nation, as well as boosting coverage for children and making care for women more equal.
The party is betting that voters in the state who normally rank health care as a top issue will be even more receptive to messages around expanding coverage in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit the Lone Star State
Now that Donald Trump has officially nominated Amy Coney Barrett for the U.S. Supreme Court, Democrats have limited options. There is no procedural mechanism, for example, that the Senate minority can use to derail the process.
But Democrats nevertheless believe there’s a political strategy available that may pay dividends.
Democrats rapidly coalesced Saturday evening, with unusual message discipline, around an issue that could milk that political advantage: Obamacare. It blends pocketbook concerns with life-and-death fears and carries urgency with a Trump-backed lawsuit that seeks to invalidate the law and faces a hearing at the Supreme Court one week after Election Day.
“Any vote to confirm this justice is a vote to eliminate health care for millions of Americans in the middle of a pandemic,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), a member of the Democratic leadership team, told NBC News.
As political strategies go, the Democrats’ message makes a lot of sense.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the survival of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is on the line in remarks Saturday night reacting to President Trump nominating 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Barrett is a favorite in conservative circles and was previously considered for the seat vacated by retired Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018, but Justice Brett Kavanaugh eventually got the nod. Barrett is now set to replace late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was a trailblazer for women’s rights and the face of the liberal bloc on the Supreme Court.
“By nominating Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court, President Trump has put Americans’ health care at grave risk,” Schumer said at an after-dark press conference in New York City. “And as COVID-19 continues and we need more health care, the nomination by President Trump of Amy
FILE – In this March 6, 2019, file photo, Rep. Harley Rouda, D-Calif., speaks during a House Oversight and Reform subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. In the Republican-leaning California 48th Congressional District in Orange County, Republican challenger Michelle Steel has talked about taxes, while Rouda has focused on health care and prescription drug costs. In the campaign for House control, some districts are seeing a fight between Democrats saying they’ll protect voters from Republicans willing to take their health coverage away, while GOP candidates are raising specters of rioters imperiling neighborhoods if Democrats win. less
FILE – In this March 6, 2019, file photo, Rep. Harley Rouda, D-Calif., speaks during a House Oversight and Reform subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. In the Republican-leaning California 48th … more