WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Saturday called on the US Senate to refrain from confirming US President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee until after the November 3 election.
“The Senate should not act on this vacancy until after the American people select their next president and the next Congress,” Biden said, just moments after Trump announced his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Trump predicted that Barrett, a staunch conservative, will get a “very quick” confirmation in the Republican-controlled senate.
Barrett is “a jurist with a written track record of disagreeing with the Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act,” the healthcare plan known as Obamacare that was adopted when Biden was vice president, the Democrat said in a statement.
Trump has been trying to end Obamacare “for four years,” Biden said, but twice the Supreme Court “upheld the law as constitutional.
“But even now, in the midst of a global health pandemic, the Trump Administration is asking the US Supreme Court to overturn the entire law, including its protections for people with pre-existing conditions,” Biden said.
If confirmed, Barrett will fill the seat left by the late justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, likely steering the court to the right for years, expanding the current conservative wing’s sometimes shaky 5-4 advantage to a solid 6-3.
Trump has previously filled two of the nine seats on the high court.
With the liberals’ influence waning, the court will likely see a replay of some of the biggest judicial disputes in the nation, not least abortion rights and the already battered Obamacare health care plan.
More immediately — and even more explosively — a quick confirmation of Barrett would tilt the court just as fears are growing that the body may have to arbitrate a post-election dispute in which either Trump or Biden refuses to accept the result.
Trump, who is well behind in the polls, has repeatedly said he may have to challenge results, alleging — without evidence — that Democrats want a “rigged” election. He said this week that the contest is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.