Both Democrats and Republicans sought to gain a better understanding of how to nominate the Supreme Court Amy Connie Barrett It might rule on the Affordable Care Act appeal that the Supreme Court will hear next month, and dance around the major legal issues surrounding the case.
On the second day of Barrett’s interrogation at the Senate Judiciary Committee, healthcare law was a dominant topic on both sides of the aisle thanks to the looming November case that the Supreme Court will hear about Republicans attempt to repeal the law – not to mention Election Day less than three weeks later.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is moving quickly during Barrett’s endorsement hearings, which will conclude on Thursday, to put the Republican-led committee on the right track to vote on her nomination next week. The Senate plans to vote on her nomination by the end of the month.
Judicial chief Lindsey Graham and Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, both asked President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court about the legal doctrine of “severability,” or whether the entire law could still exist if part of it were deemed unconstitutional, during Barrett’s second term on questions before the committee on Wednesday.
It’s a concept that could play a major role in the case by Republican prosecutors and the Trump administration seeking to have the Affordable Care Act scrapped next month. They argue that the entire law, known as the Obamacare, should be repealed because the individual coverage mandate for the law is unconstitutional.
Barrett Levinstein, a California Democrat, explained that separation was like a game of jenga.
“If you imagine separability is like a Jenga game, it’s kind of like, if you pull one out, can you take it out while you’re all standing? If you pull two, are they all still going?” Barrett asked. “Seperability is well designed to say will Congress still want the law to stand even with the removal of the ruling?”
While questioning Barrett, Graham appeared to believe that the Affordable Care Act could be saved due to separability, stating that “the aim of the doctrine is to preserve the law if that is possible.”
“From a conservative point of view, in general, we want legislative bodies to enact laws, not judges,” Graham said before asking Barrett, “Would it be, if you could keep a statue you’re trying to do, if possible?”
It’s true, Barrett said.
Graham replied: “This is the people of the law.”
Challenging President Barack Obama’s healthcare law by Republican attorneys general and the Trump administration has become a central issue in this year’s election in part because of Barrett’s assertion. Democrats focused their arguments during the Barrett endorsement hearings on how the law provides care for individuals.
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