Just three weeks before facing voters, Sen. Kamala Harris questioned Judge Amy Coney Barrett for 30 minutes during Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
Harris, Joe Biden’s running mate and Democratic candidate for vice president, largely used her allotted time to point toward President Donald Trump’s campaign goal of eliminating the Affordable Care Act.
Democrats, like Harris, have zeroed in on their belief that Barrett would vote to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which was passed by a Democratic Congress and signed by President Barack Obama nearly a decade ago.
Just one week after the election, the Supreme Court will hear another GOP-led challenge to the law. In 2012, the Affordable Care Act was “saved” in a 5-4 ruling by the Supreme Court as justices said that the law should stand as it levied a tax penalty for those without health care. In 2017, the individual mandate was struck down, meaning there is no longer a tax penalty component to Obamacare. Now the argument comes back to the Supreme Court, as Republicans claim the court's previous ruling is moot given there is no longer a tax penalty.
Harris pointed to a previous op-ed pinned by Barrett when she was a law professor at Notre Dame to claim Barrett would rule against Obamacare. Barrett wrote that the Affordable Care Act should have been overturned in 2012.
"You've already opined the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. And that position satisfied the president's promise to only nominate judges who would tear down the Affordable Care Act,” Harris said.
Barrett fired back, and added that she has made no commitment to the Trump administration on overturning the act.
“Question would be figuring out whether Congress, assuming that the mandate is unconstitutional now, whether that consistent with your intent,” Barrett said.
Harris then pressed Barrett on her views on Roe vs. Wade. Barrett said multiple times throughout the hearing that she would not offer an opinion on the 1970s-era ruling that largely has kept abortion legal throughout the US.
“I would suggest that we not pretend that we don't know how this nominee views a woman's right to choose,” Harris said.
Harris was questioned by Mike Pence at last week’s vice presidential debate on whether her and Biden would be supportive of expanding the Supreme Court. Harris avoided the question, and Biden had largely avoided the question until last night, stating he was not supportive of expanding the Supreme Court.