House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that President Donald Trump is in a “hurry” to confirm his Supreme Court nominee so that the conservative jurist can participate in a highly consequential Obamacare case the court is set to hear days after the election.
“What I am concerned about is anyone that President Trump would have appointed was there to undo the Affordable Care Act. That is why he was in such a hurry, so he could have someone in place for the oral arguments, which begin November 10,” Pelosi told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“And it doesn’t matter what the process is here – what matters is what it means personally to the American people,” Pelosi said, before listing a number of things she said were at stake if Obamacare was struck down by the high court.
“If you have a preexisting medical condition, that benefit will be gone. If you are a woman, we’ll be back to a time where being a woman is a preexisting medical condition. If your children are on your policy – say your adult children are on your policy – no longer will they be, and that in the time of a pandemic,” she said.
On Saturday, Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to become the next Supreme Court justice, angering top Democrats including Pelosi and Senate Minority Speaker Chuck Schumer, who warned that the nomination could jeopardize access to health care and threaten other consequential policy issues that could come before the high court. If confirmed, Barrett would help solidify a 6-3 conservative majority at the court.
Trump said in a tweet Sunday that if the court struck down the ACA, it would be a “big WIN” for the country.
“Obamacare will be replaced with a MUCH better, and FAR cheaper, alternative if it is terminated in the Supreme Court. Would be a big WIN for the USA!” he wrote, without providing details.
Former Vice President Joe Biden echoed Pelosi’s sentiments and commented on Trump’s tweet during a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware, on Sunday, saying the President’s objective is to “terminate Obamacare.”
“It’s no mystery about what’s happening here. President Trump is trying to throw out the Affordable Care Act,” Biden said. “He’s been trying to do it for the last four years. The Republican party has been trying to eliminate it for a decade. Twice already the Supreme Court has upheld that law, the Affordable Care Act… Now, all of a sudden, this administration believes they found a loophole in the tragedy of Justice Ginsburg’s death.”
Biden appealed to Republican senators, asking them to listen to their conscience and not vote on the nomination before the election.
“I know I have great respect for a number of my Republican colleagues, my former Republican colleagues, and I’m hoping they will do the right thing,” Biden said.
Asked earlier by Tapper if she was concerned the potential 6-3 conservative majority court could also overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, Pelosi said her current concern rests with the fate of the healthcare law, which she helped pass 10 years ago.
“Right now what is on the table is a court case that Republicans have advocated for overturning – the Affordable Care Act. That is the case that is on the table in the Supreme Court. So that is where our concern is,” the California Democrat said.
The push to confirm a Supreme Court justice ahead of the November 3 election would put the Senate on track for one of the quickest confirmations in modern history.
Barrett, who is currently a judge on the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, provided insight into her thoughts on the ACA in an early 2017 law review essay in which she reviewed a book related to the Supreme Court ruling on the law, criticizing Chief Justice John Roberts’ rationale that saved the legislation in 2012.
“Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute,” Barrett wrote. “He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power.”
At another point, Barrett refers to “Roberts’ devotion to constitutional avoidance.”
The case the justices are set to hear following the election was brought by a coalition of Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration, who argue the law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, and the entire law must fall.
This story has been updated with more details.
CNN’s Clare Foran and Chandelis Duster contributed to this report.