WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after President Donald Trump appointed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court approximately five weeks before the presidential election—defying the will of the American people, historical precedent, and Republicans’ own election-year rule from 2016:
“This is an effort to pack the court with folks who have and will consistently rule against ordinary Americans for the privileged and powerful. For years, the Supreme Court has been essentially a third legislative body deciding women’s rights, workers’ rights, health care, climate action, and more. The goal today is to lock in advantage for the privileged and powerful for an entire generation to come.
“We particularly have to recognize the huge impact that this vacancy will have on health care—both on women’s health and the affordability of care for the countless Americans with preexisting conditions.
“We knew even before this nomination that President Trump’s litmus test for any Supreme Court nominee is a requirement that they help overturn Roe v. Wade and strike down the Affordable Care Act. The Senate is confronted not only with the record and philosophy of Amy Coney Barrett, but also the profound human consequences of what the loss of access to affordable health insurance, to coverage for pre-existing conditions, and to birth control and legal abortion will mean for American families—especially those who are low-income, rural, and from communities of color.
“This is not just an intellectual or philosophical fight. This is a fight over potentially life-or-death consequences for millions of Americans. This is a fight about whether we are going to take away health care from millions of Americans in the middle of the deadliest pandemic in a century. It’s about whether, after the pandemic passes, the millions of Americans with brand new pre-existing conditions can be turned away by insurance company bureaucrats. It’s about whether politicians or employers get to sit in the doctor’s office with you and decide which procedures you’re allowed to get, or even discuss.
“Let’s remember that this battle is not about horse race politics or palace intrigue—it’s about whether an impeached president and a Senate, both elected by a minority of the American people, are able to complete a shameless power-grab that will ruin lives.”