Senator Stabenow to Vote No on Judge Barrett’s Confirmation to the Supreme Court

Citing Judge Barrett’s Record on Health Care, Civil Rights & the Environment, Senator Stabenow Will Vote Against Confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court

Monday, October 26, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Debbie Stabenow will vote no this evening on the vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. In a speech on the U.S. Senate floor yesterday, Senator Stabenow highlighted Judge Barrett’s previous statements against the Affordable Care Act, which provides health care to more than 1 million people in Michigan and critical protections to everyone with private health insurance. In just two weeks, the Supreme Court will take up the Republican case to strike down the entire ACA.


Senator Stabenow also raised Judge Barrett’s refusal to acknowledge that Medicare and Social Security are constitutional, voter discrimination exists or that the climate crisis is real.


“All across our country this year, we’ve seen Americans standing up and speaking out for greater equality and greater justice. Our choice is this: Does the highest court in the land stand with the people as they strive to build a more perfect union? Or does the Court side with powerful interests and the most extreme views in America,” said Senator Stabenow. “Judge Amy Coney Barrett does not stand on the side of people. She does not represent mainstream values – the values we cherish in Michigan.”


In her speech yesterday, Senator Stabenow explained why she will vote against Judge Barrett’s confirmation. A video of the speech can be found here.  A transcript is below.


“Mr. President, today I rise as our country faces a monumental choice. It’s a choice about who we want to be as Americans and the future we want to build as Americans.


“All across our country this year we've seen Americans standing up and speaking out for greater equality and greater justice. So, our choice is this. Does the highest court in the land stand with the people of America as we strive to build a more perfect union? Or does the court side with the most powerful interests and most extreme views that will take our country backward in our quest for justice and equality?


“Judge Amy Coney Barrett does not stand on the side of the American people. She does not represent mainstream values. Certainly, mainstream values that we cherish in Michigan.


“Right now, we're in the middle of a pandemic, over 225,000 Americans have already died, and we're nowhere near getting it under control. Nowhere. Instead of providing help to families and communities and businesses that are suffering, Republicans are rushing through. Here we are on a Sunday not talking about how we help people, help our small businesses, help our communities, do what needs to be done to get this pandemic under control. No. We’re seeing a rush to get a Supreme Court nominee on the court that will have disastrous consequences for our nation, both for today and for decades to come.


“On behalf of the majority of the people of Michigan, I am strongly opposing this nomination, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.


“Perhaps nothing is more at risk right now than health care, the health care that Americans depend on. Exactly one week after Election Day, the Supreme Court as we know will hear arguments in the case that could very well overturn the Affordable Care Act in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of a deadly pandemic.


“Republicans in Congress have tried to repeal the health care law for ten years now. Ten years, and each time people across our country, people across Michigan have spoken out. They've demanded that Republicans protect their health care. Health care is not political in the eyes of Americans. It’s personal and they want us to strengthen it and improve health care, not rip it away from them. But unfortunately, Republicans have voted more than a hundred times in those ten years, more than a hundred different times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And more than a hundred times they have failed.


“So now President Trump has turned the job over to the courts. He expects Judge Barrett to, in his words, “terminate” the health care law. That's the words of the person who nominated Judge Barrett. He wouldn't have nominated her to the Supreme Court if he didn't trust that she would do just that. Judge Barrett has already called the court's previous decision to uphold the ACA, quote, “illegitimate.” And she publicly criticized Chief Justice Roberts for upholding the law. She said that if the Supreme Court reads the statute like she does, they have no choice to, in her words, “invalidate” it. 


“This is not a mystery here about how she is going to vote. It is very, very clear. And that would be a disaster for Michigan families. A disaster for people all across our country. Protections for over 130 million Americans with preexisting conditions gone, and that number is going up every day because of COVID-19. Bans on yearly and lifetime caps on cancer treatments and other critical care, gone. Healthy Michigan, which has helped more than 880,000 Michigan residents get health care, gone. The ability for young adults up to age 26 to be covered by their family’s health insurance, gone. And you can also say goodbye to guaranteed maternity care so you don’t have to pay extra if you want to have children and have maternity care. Free prevention health screenings, birth control without co-pays.


“Seniors would see their drug prices go up. The ACA closed Medicare prescription drug—what we call the doughnut hole, the gap in coverage, and save the average Michigan senior more than $1,300 just in six years between 2010 and 2016, $1,300. Seniors would have additional reason to worry. During her confirmation hearing, Judge Barrett refused to say whether she believes Medicare and Social Security are even constitutional.


“And as is often the case, American women would have the most to lose if the ACA is overturned. Remember when simply being a woman was considered a preexisting condition by insurance companies and we had to pay more? I do. Yet, the threat of Justice Barrett goes far beyond insurance rates. The fundamental right for women to make basic choices about our own health care, our own health, our own lives would be at risk. Since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, women in our country have had the right to make our own decisions about reproductive choices that are best for our own health and our own families. It is among the rights that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her career defending, and it is not a right that Judge Barrett respects. She has long aligned herself with organizations devoted to eliminating a woman’s right to choose. She signed her name to a letter calling for Roe v. Wade to be overturned, and during her nomination hearing, she refused to say whether Roe v. Wade is settled law. At its most basic, Roe v. Wade is about undue government interference. Think about that. Undue government interference, which we hear a lot about from our friends on the other side of the aisle. That's something that Republicans deeply oppose, at least when it's corporations that need defending from undue government interference. Reproductive rights are only one freedom, as critical as they are, that are on the line right now. 


“Over the past decade, we have made major progress in ensuring that our LGBTQ+ friends and neighbors aren’t discriminated against simply for being themselves. Yet, Judge Barrett has openly opposed this progress, including speaking out against the decision that made marriage equality the law of the land. She has even given numerous speeches on behalf of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a right-wing organization that thinks being gay should be a crime.


“Workers, too, could see their rights evaporate under a justice Barrett. There would be just one more conservative Justice who will issue rulings that hurt the ability of workers to fight workplace mistreatment and discrimination and to organize and collectively bargain for wages, benefits, workplace protections. That's what she did in her decision, Wallace v. Grubhub Holdings in which she ruled against workers who were denied overtime wages. Against workers who were denied overtime wages that are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act.


If a Justice Barrett sides with the powerful against people, I think we all know what that means for the future of our world. During her confirmation hearing, Judge Barrett refused to say whether or not she believes that climate change exists saying she is not a scientist. You don’t need to be a scientist. Just ask people in Michigan about what is happening in our state. The climate crisis is already affecting Michigan agriculture, our environment, our public health, our Great Lakes. A number of crucial cases dealing with the environment are likely to end up at the Supreme Court in the next number of years, and the court’s decisions will have consequences that outlive any of us. 


“Critically important to all American citizens is what Justice Barrett would mean for voting rights and the results of the 2020 election. Let me remind everyone that Election Day isn’t November 3rd. It’s everyday up to November 3rd. People are voting right now. If you have not voted, I hope you do and that you do it safely and do it early. But voting ends on November 3rd. People are voting as we speak, and whether or not those votes are counted could very well depend on the United States Supreme Court. 


“Judge Barrett refused to say whether she believes voter discrimination exists. Voter discrimination. Given that 23 states have passed restrictive voting laws since the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision, it’s pretty clear that that voter discrimination exists.


“Judge Barrett has also refused to recuse herself from ruling on cases related to the outcome of the 2020 election, even though President Trump is rushing to make sure that she is there. That’s a clear conflict of interest, if I ever heard one.


“There is no right more fundamental than the right to vote. No right more fundamental than the right to vote. Perhaps nobody knew that better than our beloved colleague, the late Congressman John Lewis. He once said this: “My dear friends, your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union.”


“A more perfect union. That's what we want, isn't it? That's what we're working toward every day, I hope. That's what Americans have been marching for and speaking out for and bleeding for and dying for, for as long we have been a nation.


“We face a crucial choice. I'm choosing to stand with the vast majority of the American people on the side of justice and equality. I urge a no vote on Judge Barrett. The American people deserve much, much better.”