RI’s Sen. Whitehouse: Barrett should recuse self if election is challenged

Politics

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The first day of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing has wrapped, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse asserts that her nomination is a “hypocritical move” by President Donald Trump and the Republicans.

Whitehouse is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is conducting the confirmation hearing. If confirmed, Barrett would be the fifth woman to ever sit on the nation’s highest court.

Whitehouse said Rhode Islanders have reached out to him by the thousands to express their concern about Barrett’s nomination. Their biggest concern, he said, is the threat of losing the Affordable Care Act, which over 20 million American’s rely on for health insurance.

“As for this charade, big donors may love it, but Americans see what’s going on,” Whitehouse said. “They see this ugly, powerful, hypocritical power grab and they know what it means for their healthcare in the midst of a pandemic.”

The argument deadline to reverse Obamacare is Nov. 10, which Whitehouse said explains Trump’s rush to appoint Barrett.

This is not the first time Whitehouse has expressed his opposition to Barrett’s nomination.

Whitehouse wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post Sunday slamming Trump and calling on Barrett to recuse herself from any election-related dispute if she is confirmed.

In the op-ed, Whitehouse said Republicans want Barrett to be on the court so they can rule on “bogus election administration disputes they have in the pipeline.”

This means that if anything heads to the Supreme Court, which Trump says it will, Whitehouse said the Republicans are counting on Barrett’s vote.

“Republicans want to rush Barrett though in time to deliver what could be the key vote on behalf of the president who chose her,” he wrote. “For Barrett, this is a test of integrity, both for herself and for our system of government. She must commit to rescue herself from any election-related dispute.”

Despite attacks from the other side, Trump said he stands by his decision to nominate Barrett, adding that he has the right to fill the seat since he was elected by the American people.

The rest Rhode Island Congressional Delegation has also already, in some form, voiced opposition to Trump’s Supreme Court pick.

Rep. Jim Langevin said Trump is taking direct aim at the Affordable Care Act, which millions of Americans can’t afford to lose, especially during a global pandemic.

“The next justice will play a crucial role in this case and countless others that will have far reaching impacts on the lives of every American, from civil rights to climate change. Indeed, the stakes are high, and the will of the people should be considered,” Langevin said in a statement.

Sen. Jack Reed said he strongly opposes the nomination, calling it an “unprecedented process to drag the Supreme Court down an extremist, polarized path.”

“While people are dying and suffering, President Trump and his enablers want to change the subject and change the direction of the judiciary by packing it with those who will aggressively overrule precedent and reinterpret the Constitution to suit their partisan agenda,” Reed said in a statement.

In a tweet soon after her nomination, Rep. David Cicilline said he feels better knowing Whitehouse is “fighting to get the dark money out of politics” and will have the chance to question Barrett during the confirmation hearing.

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