'It's a power grab': Sen. Brown slams Republicans for 'illegitimate' Supreme Court confirmation hearing

Jessica Smith
·Reporter

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) blasted Republicans for moving forward with the confirmation of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, just weeks before the presidential election.

“It's a power grab. It's illegitimate,” said Brown in an interview with Yahoo Finance.

Brown, like many other Democrats, worry Barrett’s confirmation would put the Affordable Care Act at risk. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of the ACA next month — just one week after the election.

“Republicans can't repeal the Affordable Care Act. They hate it — it's Obamacare,” said Brown. “They couldn't repeal it through the legislative process, so their only way of doing it is shifting it to the courts.”

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett speaks during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Bonnie Cash/Pool via AP)
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett speaks during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Bonnie Cash/Pool via AP)

Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee have zeroed in on health care throughout much of the confirmation hearings so far. Democrats have shared personal stories and displayed photos of people who they said would lose access to health care if the Affordable Care Act were struck down.

“A whole lot of people — in the midst of a pandemic — a whole lot of people will lose their insurance and struggle with ‘what do I do next?’,” said Brown. “It’s just morally bankrupt.”

In the first day of questioning on Tuesday, senators asked Barrett whether she’s assured anyone that she would vote to repeal the ACA and pressed her on her previous critique of the 2012 Supreme Court ruling, which upheld the landmark health care law.

"I think that your concern is that because I critiqued the statutory reasoning that I'm hostile to the ACA, and that because I'm hostile to the ACA, I would decide a case a particular way," Barrett said in the hearing on Tuesday. "I'm not hostile to the ACA. I'm not hostile to any statute that you pass.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, speaks during a video connection before a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee nomination hearing for Brian Miller to be Department of the Treasury Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery and Dana Wade to be Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 5, 2020. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, speaks during a video connection before a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee nomination hearing for Brian Miller to be Department of the Treasury Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery and Dana Wade to be Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 5, 2020. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

Barrett told senators she’s made no commitments on how she’d vote in any cases — and said she is “100% committed to judicial independence from political pressure."

"I apply the law, I follow the law. You make the policy,” said Barrett.

Jessica Smith is a reporter for Yahoo Finance based in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter at @JessicaASmith8.

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