Abcarian: The Republicans' hypocrisy in Monday's Amy Coney Barrett hearing was simply unbearable
Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett arrives for her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Monday. (Caroline Brehman / Pool via AP)
On Monday, the first day of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, not a single US Democratic Senator spoke about her religion.
Nobody mentioned that she was an ultra-conservative Catholic or that she belonged to People of Praise, a religious group that referred to women as "maids" until a dystopian television fantasy made the word untenable.
Nobody cited her now famous admonition to 2006 graduates of Notre Dame Law School that a legal career is "just a means to an end ... and that end is building the kingdom of God."
However, if you had only listened to the Republicans on the committee, you would have assumed that all Democrats had spoken about it.
"The pattern and practice of religious bigotry by members of this committee must stop!" said Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley.
The Republicans tried to want a religious attack that was not imminent.
Democrats knew better than to fall into this trap.
They completely ignored the candidate's religion.
Instead, they continued to focus on the popular belief that a judge Barrett would help the court overthrow the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's legislative achievement.
The 2010 bill, which survived 70 Republican attacks in Congress, has allowed an estimated 23 million Americans to purchase health insurance so that young people can stay under their parents' insurance until they are 26. and for those with pre-existing conditions to obtain and retain as much coverage as insurance companies might like to dispose of.
(Remember the old days before Obamacare, when the news was full of stories of people who couldn't get health insurance because of acne, anxiety, yeast infections - and pretty much everything else?)
Democratic senators blew up photos of everyday Americans whose lives Obamacare had saved. A woman with high blood pressure and diabetes. A woman whose free mammogram caught breast cancer early enough to be treated. A child with heart disease who needed three operations before their second birthday.
They found that around 129 million Americans, more than a third of the country's population, had pre-existing conditions.
Have the Democrats overreacted?
In 2017, while she was a law professor at Notre Dame, Barrett wrote that Chief Justice John Roberts, who delivered the 2015 vote to save the ACA, misrepresented his reasoning when he said the penalty would be considered for those without health insurance a tax that is within the limits of congressional law should be drawn.
Roberts, she wrote, "pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the law."
These are not the words of someone who would vote to uphold the ACA, which will be tried again in the Supreme Court on Nov. 10 in a case called California v Texas.
"Please don't tell us it's not about putting down the Affordable Care Act," said Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who described Barrett's nomination as "a judicial torpedo they are firing at the ACA."
It's not just health care for Americans that would be at risk.
Barrett, who has said that she believes life begins with conception, would also likely vote to overturn Roe against Wade, which signals the end of a woman's full right to abortion in this country and the matter in a row passed by states that have already passed laws banning abortion in almost all cases.
There was so much irony and hypocrisy on the part of Republicans on Monday.
Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst, who opposes abortion and has said she will support a federal ban on same-sex marriages, told Barrett with a straight face: "The great freedom of being an American is that we can choose to how we want to build our lives, who we should marry, what kind of person we are and where we want to go. "
The senators were masked and physically aloof because the president failed to run the country so miserably during the coronavirus pandemic. Even while we're in the midst of an outbreak that kills more than 214,000 Americans, Trump has pushed ahead with the appointment of a judge who will all but surely end the universal health insurance mandate the moment the Americans get killed need it most urgently.
The greatest hypocrisy of all, of course, is that these hearings are actually taking place.
In the spring of 2016, many months before the presidential election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to admit Judge Merrick Garland, the moderate lawyer appointed by President Obama to succeed Judge Antonin Scalia, who died unexpectedly.
"Of course," McConnell said at the time, "the American people should have a say in the direction of the court."
And now that Election Day is only three weeks away, the great American people speaking advocate has his tongue cut out.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
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