“They’ve done absolutely nothing for three months,” says Florida Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
The rush in appointing a new Supreme Court Justice by Republicans has not only brought calls of hypocrisy against those who opposed confirming Merrick Garland in 2016 alleging it was too close to a presidential election. Latino lawmakers are also voicing their frustration over the fact that the Senate is exhibiting so much efficiency while holding out on more pressing matters, like health care and a package of COVID relief
“The Senate is rushing to bring a vote to nominate a Supreme Court Justice,” Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL) said in an interview with Florida ABC affiliate station Local 10, “and yet they’ve done absolutely nothing for three months as we’ve been trying to negotiate another package to provide relief for so many families in my district that need assistance—small businesses that keep calling us that need further relief.”
Rep. Mucarsel-Powell added that she would rather have the Senate rush back to vote on the COVID relief package known as Heroes Act.
The Pending Case Against the Affordable Care Act
Other lawmakers are emphasizing the impact the appointment of a new Justice could have in cases pending before the Supreme Court—particularly the challenge against the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which gives health coverage to some 20 million Americans.
A federal judge in Texas declared the entire law (popularly known as “Obamacare”) unconstitutional in 2018. And while the Trump administration initially supported striking down only sections of the law, subsequently lined up with the Texas court. The Supreme Court agreed to take the case, with a hearing scheduled for November 10—a week after the presidential election.
“Let’s be clear: a vote to confirm any Trump #SCOTUS nominee is a vote to strike down healthcare coverage for millions during a deadly pandemic,” tweeted Rep. Nanette D. Barragán (D-CA), one of many Democrats pointing to the consequences an additional Trump Justice on the Court would have.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), who sits on several Congressional committees and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, has said the right to health care is at stake with the Supreme Court vacancy.
“If Trump/McConnell ram through a nominee, millions of Americans will lose access to health care— during a deadly pandemic,” Castro tweeted.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that 62% of Americans say the Senate should wait and the Supreme Court seat should be filled by the winner of the election, which includes 50% of Republicans and 80% of Democrats.
“A Power Grab”
Other Latino lawmakers said the Republican-majority Senate is abusing their power by not waiting to nominate a new Supreme Court justice until after the election.
Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) tweeted, “It sounds like a power grab because it is a power grab. Give the American people a voice.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) joined in on the Twitter pushback. “Congressional GOP have made one thing extremely clear,” she tweeted. “To them, there are no rules. There are no principles. There is only power. They are ruthless, and always have been in my lifetime. Dems must recognize they cannot be reasoned with at present & better adapt to that reality.”
Now that the Senate Republicans have enough votes to nominate a Supreme Court Justice, President Donald Trump said yesterday that he would name his pick on Saturday. The vote on the Senate floor could come as early as Oct. 29.