Conservatives rejoiced while Democrats expressed dismay as President Trump announced on Saturday he would nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy caused by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last week.
Trump announced his choice of Barrett, who currently serves on the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, in a Rose Garden event on Saturday afternoon, just eight days after Ginsburg’s death.
The announcement prompted Democrats to make dire warnings about the future of health care and reproductive rights should Barrett be confirmed.
“The awesome power of the presidency is in the hands of a man who spits on our Constitution,” Senator Elizabeth Warren said of President Trump on Saturday. “We cannot stand down when Donald Trump tries to hand our highest court - and the rights and liberties of the American people - over to extremists.”
Warren warned that Barrett’s ascension to the nation’s highest court could spell the end of the Affordable Care Act and legal abortion in many states.
“We know Trump will pick a Supreme Court nominee who will deliver the death blow to the Affordable Care Act and rip health care away from millions of people during a deadly pandemic. We know it because he’s already in Court demanding this,” she said. “We know Trump will pick a Supreme Court nominee who will overturn Roe v. Wade and take our country back to the time of back-alley abortions. We know it because he’s already told us over and over again that he’ll do it.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pained a similarly bleak picture in a statement released Saturday.
“If this nominee is confirmed, millions of families' health care will be ripped away in the middle of a pandemic that has infected seven million Americans and killed over 200,000 people in our country,” she said.
Representative Ayanna Pressley pointed to Barrett’s judicial record, saying she had a “long history of anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant statements and decisions” that made her unfit for the Supreme Court.
“As someone who has repeatedly ruled to restrict access to contraception and reproductive care, Judge Barrett, if confirmed, would be set on carrying out the far-right’s quest to overturn Roe v. Wade,” she said in a statement.
By contrast, Republicans were generally united in their support for Barrett’s nomination.
Senator Lindsey Graham, who, as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will hold hearings to consider Barrett’s nomination, expressed admiration for her in a series of tweets on Saturday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was similarly effusive in his praise for Barrett.
“President Trump could not have made a better decision. Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an exceptionally impressive jurist and an exceedingly well-qualified nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States,” he said in a statement on Saturday.