Joe Biden and Kamala Harris 'Strongly Oppose' Donald Trump's Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett
President Donald Trump named Amy Coney Barrett as his pick to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat
Both Biden and Harris released statements on Saturday, voicing their opposition and urging Congress to postpone any decisions on the seat until after the election.
"Trump's hand-picked successor to Justice Ginsburg's seat makes it clear: they intend to destroy the Affordable Care Act & overturn Roe. This selection would move the court further right for a generation & harm millions of Americans," Harris, 55, tweeted. "I strongly oppose Judge Barrett's nomination."
Biden, 77, echoed Harris' remarks. "Today, President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the successor to Justice Ginsburg’s seat. She has a written track record of disagreeing with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. She critiqued Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion upholding the law in 2012," he said in a statement.
"The American people know the U.S. Supreme Court decisions affect their everyday lives. The United States Constitution was designed to give the voters one chance to have their voice heard on who serves on the Court. That moment is now and their voice should be heard. The Senate should not act on this vacancy until after the American people select their next president and the next Congress," he added.
Barrett — who clerked for late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia — is seen by both Republicans and Democratic lawmakers as a social conservative who interprets the law by its original text.
Legal experts and lawmakers believe Barrett, 48, could have a great impact on potential rulings for issues such as abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act.
Trump, 74, has made it a point to target both issues during his presidency and appointing Barrett would swing the court towards a 6-3 conservative majority, with Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephan Breyer as the three remaining liberal-leaning members of the court.
"President Trump has been trying to throw out the Affordable Care Act for four years. Republicans have been trying to end it for a decade. Twice, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law as constitutional," Biden said. "But even now, in the midst of a global health pandemic, the Trump Administration is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the entire law, including its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. If President Trump has his way, complications from COVID-19, like lung scarring and heart damage, could become the next deniable pre-existing condition."
On Saturday night, Sen. Lindsey Graham announced that Barrett's confirmation hearings would begin as soon as Oct. 12 on a new, expedited schedule, after Trump urged the GOP lawmakers to appoint his nomination “without delay" following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The hearings will last only four days, with Barrett's opening statements, questions from Senators and testimonies from outside witnesses.
Republicans currently hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate and enough lawmakers in recent days have signaled they'll vote in support of Trump's nominee, despite Democratic outcry that doing so would be hypocritical. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow lawmakers to consider then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination, Judge Merrick Garland, following the death of Justice Scalia in February 2016 because it was an election year.