• The Barrett hearing comes just 22 days before the presidential election
  • Democrats warned Barrett's ascension to the Supreme Court would amount to a death sentence for the Affordable Care Act
  • Barrett was nominated to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Sept. 18

Republicans hammered at the need for judges to follow the rule of law while Democrats warned the fate of the Affordable Care Act hangs in the balance as the Senate held a Columbus Day hearing on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Republicans have been trying to overturn the ACA – better known as Obamacare – since it’s inception and Barrett has expressed criticism of Chief Justice John Roberts’ position on previous cases involving the health care reform act that enabled some 20 million Americans to obtain coverage, providing protections for pre-existing conditions.

The case comes up again before the high court Nov. 10.

President Donald Trump promised repeatedly to come up with a replacement for the ACA but has failed to present any cohesive plan.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., admitted at the outset the four-day hearing was just for show, calling the proceedings a “hearing to confirm” Barrett, rather than a hearing to consider her nomination.

“This is probably not about persuading each other unless something really dramatic happens,” Graham said. “All the Republicans will vote yes, all the Democrats will vote no.”

The rapid process to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg stands in sharp contrast to 2016 when Justice Antonin Scalia died 200 days before the election and Republicans refused to hold hearings on the nomination of Appellate Judge Merrick Garland, saying it was too close to the election.

President Donald Trump last week urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to forget about coronavirus economic stimulus negotiations and instead concentrate on Barrett’s nomination.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the third ranking Democrat in the Senate, called the Republican decision to rush Barrett’s nomination “shameless” and “self-serving.”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Americans are tired of judges who act as “unelected legislators,” issuing rulings that actually rewrite the law. He said judges need an “internal compass to adhere to the rule of law.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Barrett’s confirmation would be “catastrophic” for those relying on the ACA and accused Republicans of “wearing blinders to the grim realities” of the coronavirus by concentrating on the Supreme Court nomination instead of working to approve the next round of coronavirus economic stimulus.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., characterized Barrett as a “judicial torpedo aimed” at ACA protections for pre-existing conditions and elimination of caps on medical treatment. He called the hearings a “mad, slap-dash rush.”

You can watch the hearing below: