On the first day of Amy Coney Barrett's week-long confirmation hearing, the Democrat Senators sitting on the Committee on the Judiciary spent the day bloviating, fearmongering, and basically dominating the time with conjecture and projection, mostly about the Affordable Healthcare Act.
For nearly five hours, Democrat Senators participated in a bizarre, obviously coordinated, grandstanding show discussing how much they're worried—on behalf of their constituents, of course—about the effect a Justice like Amy Coney Barrett might have on the Affordable Healthcare Act.
During their time, which lasted far beyond what seems reasonable for a hearing about someone else, a Democrat Senator would discuss a dire health concern of a resident of their state, and with the person's photo behind them, opine about how the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett might forever obstruct said sick resident from receiving diabetes medicine or the like.
As effective as this might appear in an ad or as a soundbite, it not only had the opposite effect on today's confirmation hearing, but it had little to do with Amy Coney Barrett, her credentials, or the Supreme Court
The fact that so many Democrats spent multiple hours conjecturing about the Affordable Healthcare Act shows just how little they understand how law works, how the Supreme Court functions, and how much they think fear mongering and scare tactics has a place in the Judiciary Committee.
Many conservatives hate the Affordable Healthcare Act due to the individual mandate and the tax penalty for those who opt out. The contraceptive mandate, which forced non profit organizations who function with a religious foundation like the Little Sisters of the Poor, to provide birth control contrary to their deeply held beliefs, didn't help any.
It's a law, and a bad one, but it’s still law. To overturn it would require just the right petition, for the Court to take that on, and then to decide whether an entire precedent should be flipped. Overturning precedent is not impossible but it is improbable. At the least, for purposes of today’s hearing, the fabricated conjecture disguised as concern for precedent, wrapped in a blanket of coordinated scare tactics, is just entirely unnecessary.
The only redeeming factors of the day were when Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) gave a brief history lesson which he dubbed "Civics 101," wherein he explained that what we all should have learned in 8th grade: The Legislative branch makes law and the Judicial branch merely interprets law while it's Executive branch is the enforcer. He explained if people don't like what they're seeing in Congress, they should fire their representative or senator, not get riled up over a confirmation hearing.
Finally, towards the end of the day, Amy Coney Barrett, the star of the show who had thus far been relegated to silence, was finally given the opportunity to discuss her personal history, legal philosophy, and impeccable credentials. In her closing, she said she would "pledge to faithfully and impartially discharge my duties to the American people as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court."
This is good news, but not surprising. That's what a qualified candidate for the Supreme Court should pledge. The Senate Committee on the Judiciary, too, should have behaved with a modicum of decency and impartiality. Instead, they took the opportunity to grandstand their worst fears as a coordinated public relations stunt.