The debate over Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court continues

By Macyn Field

Supporters of Judge Amy Coney Barrett attempt to block and drown out pro-choice supporters outside of the US Supreme Court the morning that the confirmation hearings begin for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to become an Associate Justice on Capitol Hill on October 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. Barrett was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who passed away in September. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images/TNS)

People for the American Way teamed up with Planned Parenthood, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Alliance for Justice, and Little Lobbyists on Oct. 20 to host an informational conference on Facebook Live to discuss the future of the Affordable Care Act.

The event, titled “What’s at Stake: Barrett Supreme Court Nomination,” featured several U.S. senators, including Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, and Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

The panel also included the presidents of the organizations who hosted the event, as well as several citizens who shared personal stories about how the Affordable Care Act made a difference in their lives.

The main concern with Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court is that she will vote to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, which will affect millions of people in the nation with pre-existing conditions, panelists said.

“It’s not just coverage in the middle of a pandemic; it’s not just people who have preexisting conditions. It’s the loss of essential healthcare benefits. Mental health, addiction treatments, all of this is put at risk by nominating Amy Coney Barret to the Supreme Court.”

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The senators urged citizens to contact their Republican representatives and ask to delay a nomination to the Supreme Court until after the Presidential election.

Meanwhile, the comment section of the live video was active, both with people who desperately need the Affordable Care Act, and with those who want it to be dissolved. One viewer, Joe Murphy, commented, “ACA has increased my family’s premiums so much I need a loan to pay for my children’s college.”

He then called the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg a “hack” who only voted Democrat. Others, who supported Roe V Wade and the Affordable Care Act, flooded the comments with questions, such as, “We all know what’s at risk. What can we do about it?”

Still, many more pleaded with the panel to give more solutions than simply writing to their representatives.

The panel began with Murray, Hirono, Cardin, and Casey speaking about the ways the Affordable Care act has been vital for the health of citizens in their perspective states. Hirono focused specifically on the ways that getting rid of Roe V Wade and various LGBTQ rights would affect women of color.

Casey told several stories from Pennsylvania citizens who relied on the Affordable Care Act at some point, including several stories about mothers with special needs children. The senators then criticized the urgency to push forward a Supreme Court nominee who is on record for having criticized the Affordable Care Act while the nation is in the middle of a national health crisis.

Next the discussion was turned over to some of the leaders of the organizations running the event. Vinita Gupta, the chief executive officer of Lupin Pharmacuticals, said that Barrett was unfit for the Supreme Court and discussed her record of disdain for the Affordable Care Act.

Then, Rachel Wall, a healthcare advocate from Denver, spoke about her experiences with the Affordable Care Act and the necessity it provides for people.

“I know it feels kind of surreal that we’re here two weeks out from an election watching our Senate majority refuse to pass any Covid relief or assistance bills but barrel through nominating a new Supreme Court justice,” Wall said.

Throughout the presentations from the panel, the comment section filled with citizens becoming frustrated that there was not a clear answer to how they can help. “It seems the panel is not reading our comments!” said Connie Kissinger, one of the 5000 viewers. “I hope this isn’t just a long review of what we already know.”

Some of the commenter’s questions were eventually answered in a brief question and answer section at the end of the event.

Finally, a video was shown of Alexis McGill Johnson, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. McGill Johnson spoke about the dangers of losing funding and the dangers of Barrett overturning Roe V Wade.

“We know that 77% of Americans support access to safe and legal abortion,” Johnson said. “Our Supreme Court should reflect that.”

Contact Macyn Field at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

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