Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is framing his argument against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee around the risk to the Affordable Care Act at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has made health care a critical issue and central to the campaign
Biden is expected to debut his position in a speech Sunday in Philadelphia and preview his case against Trump’s pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday.
The matter is particularly pressing for Democrats because the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case seeking to gut the health law a week after Election Day.
The strategy also helps the Biden campaign bridge what seems to voters to be a very Washington-centric fight over the timing of confirmation hearings to an issue of prime importance to them, especially as the pandemic continues.
“Voters understand: the next Justice who goes on the Court will decide whether or not they will still have protections for pre-existing conditions,” the Biden campaign said in a statement. “That’s a fight that’s good for Democrats. It carried them to the House majority in 2018 and it is motivating voters in communities all over the country. It will further motivate voters to turn out for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”
Oral arguments for the case California v. Texas are scheduled for Nov. 10. The case, led by Texas and supported by the Trump administration, challenges Obamacare’s individual mandate and could eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
With Democrats unable to delay the confirmation process in the Senate, Biden’s advisers are choosing to focus on the issues they see as most at risk if Republicans succeed in pushing the court even further to the right.
Democrats successfully gained a majority in the House of Representatives in 2018 by running on the same health-care issue. A Biden aide said the campaign would also highlight the risk Democrats see to environmental protections and reproductive rights.
After Ginsburg died, Biden said her replacement should be nominated by whoever wins the election.
“There is no doubt — let me be clear — that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice,” Biden said after returning from a campaign stop in Minnesota.
Trump said Saturday he would nominate his pick, probably a woman, this week. The two frontrunners appear to be appellate court judges Amy Coney Barrett or Barbara Lagoa.
Ginsburg’s death has reshaped the presidential race with 44 days until the election. Up to now, Biden has primarily focused on the president’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, seeking to tie the health and economic crises to the president. Trump now has the opportunity to focus on pushing the high court even further to the right, guaranteeing a conservative majority for a generation.
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