Maine Senator Susan Collins’ commitment to vote for “no” for a Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg prior to the election is too little, too late. It still leaves a number of critical questions unanswered, including whether Collins would vote for a nominee presented during the lame-duck session after the election. And the fact is: Mainers just don’t trust Susan Collins to do the right thing when it actually matters. When Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Federalist Society members who fund her campaign were counting on Collins to cast a key vote for Justice Brett Kavanaugh or to ram through extremely unpopular tax cuts for the rich, she toed the party line. Collins also voted to appoint President Trump’s presumptive nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, to her current position on the federal bench.
And Mainers certainly don’t trust Susan Collins to protect their access to affordable healthcare through the ACA. After all, it is Collins’ key vote for the 2017 Republican tax giveaway that has provided the basis for the current challenge to the ACA in California v. Texas, which has jeopardized access to healthcare for tens of thousands of Mainers, and is set to be heard by the Supreme Court in November — just after the election.
Below are the top candidates who have been identified as potential nominees for the Supreme Court vacancy and their records on the Affordable Care Act and health care:
Amy Coney Barrett
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Amy Coney Barrett has fought to repeal health care for tens of millions of people and block access to birth control in her attacks on the Affordable Care Act.
- “Barrett is on record arguing courts should invalidate the law. She criticized Chief Justice John Roberts for his decision to uphold Congress’s authority to enact large portions of the ACA. According to Barrett, “Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.” She also wrote favorably of the dissent in King v. Burwell, where the Court affirmed tax credits for millions of families.”
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Britt Grant, as Solicitor General for the state of Georgia, challenged the Affordable Care Act. She filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court that sought to eliminate critical tax subsidies that nearly 6.4 million Americans in 34 states rely on to pay for their health care.
Grant “argued that only customers of state-run exchanges can receive subsidies that offset the cost of their insurance,” meaning North Carolinians would not have qualified for cost-saving tax credits when seeking coverage through the ACA.
- “While working for the Office of the Georgia Attorney General, Grant also worked on an amicus brief supporting an Indiana law that blocked Medicaid reimbursements for health providers that provide abortion care. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals blocked enforcement of the law, noting that Medicaid regulations give program participants the power to select their own health care provider.”
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
Sarah Pitlyk is committed to working against the Affordable Care Act and has made clear she would rule against the law on the U.S. Supreme Court.
- “Pitlyk’s public statements echo this Administration’s hostility to the ACA and call into question her ability to properly enforce the law. In an opinion piece for the National Review, Pitlyk called the Supreme Court’s upholding of the ACA a ‘disastrous ruling’ and an ‘unprincipled decision,’ while praising then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh for ‘vigorously criticizing the law.’”
Kate Comerford Todd
Deputy White House Counsel
Kate Comerford Todd worked for the legal arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as the group “spent nearly a decade and millions of dollars fighting to overturn the Affordable Care Act.”
During Comerford Todd’s time with the U.S. Chamber, the group backed a Republican bill that would have repealed critical portions of the ACA. The bill would have left over 500,000 North Carolinians without health care coverage.
- Comerford Todd worked in the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed an amicus brief challenging the Affordable Care Act in 2011.
- Comerford Todd was hired by the U.S. Chamber in June 2011. She left to join the Trump Administration in early 2019.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Diane Sykes worked to overturn the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that insurance companies provide coverage for contraception. Access to affordable contraception is absolutely essential for individual health and reducing out-of-pocket health care costs.
- “In 2013, Sykes wrote the opinion in Korte v. Sebelius, which held that both for-profit corporations and their individual owners may challenge the Affordable Care Act‘s contraception mandate, and that the mandate ―substantially burdens the religious practice of closely-held corporations whose owners have religious objections to contraception, a view later endorsed by the Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby.”
- More than half of people who use oral contraception do so, at least in part, for medical reasons unrelated to preventing pregnancy.
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