“Why the president is in such a rush is because he’s in a hurry to overturn the Affordable Care Act. And he wants to do that,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said Tuesday night at The Atlantic Festival. “The oral arguments start Nov. 10, a week after the election, and he wants to get a justice in there in time for that so they can hear the arguments and vote on it.”
Trump and other Republican leaders indicated after Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death on Friday they intended to move forward with filling the court's vacancy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appears to have secured enough votes to confirm Trump's nominee, although it's still unclear whether the vote could come before the November presidential election, or in the lame-duck session that takes place after the election but before the new Congress starts.
It marks a reversal from 2016 when McConnell refused to hold a Senate vote on Merrick Garland, who was nominated to the court by former President Barack Obama after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. McConnell held the seat open until after the election and inauguration of Trump in 2017. Justice Neil Gorsuch was nominated and later confirmed in April 2017.
The president said he will announce his nominee on Saturday.
Pelosi suggested that Republicans were rushing to fill the vacancy so that the new justice would be confirmed before Nov. 10, when the high court will hear arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the landmark health care law also known as ObamaCare.
“People have to know what this means to them,” Pelosi said. “Yeah, they know that the Republicans are hypocritical – they said one thing and another – who cares? What they care about is what it means to them. And what it means to 150 million families in America is that no longer will they have the protection of the Affordable Care Act when it comes to a pre-existing medical condition.”
Ginsburg voted to uphold the Obama-era law in 2012 alongside the court's three other liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts. She was widely expected to do so again when the high court reviews ObamaCare for the third time.
The case was brought by a group of Republican attorneys general, spearheaded by Texas, who are arguing that the individual mandate – the provision that requires Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a financial penalty – was made unconstitutional when the GOP-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the penalty to zero.
The suit contends that if that part of ObamaCare is invalid, so is the rest of the law.
The ultimate outcome of the lawsuit will affect millions of Americans, and the repeal of the decade-old law could leave up to 32 million people without health insurance by 2026, according to a Congressional Budget Office report from 2017 about the effects of repealing ObamaCare.