Oregon lawmakers react to Amy Coney Barrett’s SCOTUS nom

Politics

Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks after President Donald Trump announced Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Saturday, spurring reactions from Oregon’s Democratic lawmakers who raised concerns about the future health care and women’s rights for Americans.

Among the first to release a statement on the president’s third nomination was Oregon’s US Senator Jeff Merkley, who called the entire process “illegitimate.” (Ready Merkley’s full statement at the bottom of this article.)

“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.”

In a statement, Senator Ron Wyden said, “Here’s the bottom line: every senator who votes for this nominee is voting to strip away quality, affordable health care – and protections for pre-existing conditions – from hundreds of thousands of Oregonians and millions of Americans.” (Read Wyden’s full statement at the bottom of this article.)

On Twitter, other state leaders and lawmakers were quick to share their reactions.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown echoed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s final wish, which was that her seat would not be filled “until a new president is installed.”

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici published a six-part Twitter thread wherein she called on the Senate to “stop the hypocrisy, oppose this [nomination].”

“Donald Trump has pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn #RoeVWade, and Amy Coney Barrett has made clear that, in her opinion, a justice can overturn established precedent if it conflicts with their understanding of the Constitution,” said Bonamici in the thread.

In just three words, Rep. Earl Blumenauer shared his thoughts.

Taking a different tone than his constituents, Congressman Greg Walden, the state’s lone Republican Representative, responded to Barrett’s nomination with praise.

“Amy Coney Barrett is a strong and principled woman, mother, and U.S. circuit court judge. She is highly qualified and would be an excellent addition to the Supreme Court. She deserves a fair and respectful hearing followed by a vote in the U.S. Senate.”

Washington lawmakers add their voices

The conversation around health care was universal to Washington leaders and lawmakers as well.

Washington US Senator Patty Murray echoed some Oregon lawmaker’s concerns that this appointment will jeopardize health care and other “vital rights.”

“I oppose this President’s Supreme Court nomination in the strongest terms,” Murray said in a 6-part statement on Twitter.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said, “As voters are already casting their ballots, we need to let their voices be heard. We must allow them to choose the president and then allow that president to choose the next nominee for a lifetime appointment. The future of the court, this country and our democracy is on the line.”

Full statements from lawmakers

Oregon US Senator Jeff Merkley

“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.”

Oregon US Senator Ron Wyden

“Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have made it clear they will pull out all the stops to jam through another right-wing Supreme Court nominee – even if that means breaking their own rule pertaining to election-year appointments. If you don’t trust Donald Trump and Senate Republicans with your health care, you shouldn’t trust them with filling this Supreme Court seat. Here’s the bottom line: every senator who votes for this nominee is voting to strip away quality, affordable health care – and protections for pre-existing conditions – from hundreds of thousands of Oregonians and millions of Americans.”

This article was written with contributions from the Associated Press.

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