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By Mae Slater on
 May 14, 2024

Amy Coney Barrett May Not Be A Lock To Vote Against Obamacare

Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court has ignited concerns regarding the future of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, given her past criticisms of the law.

Reuters reported that Barrett, who was nominated by President Donald Trump, has been scrutinized for her previous comments that indicate she might support challenges to Obamacare. This has led to significant opposition from Democrats who assert that her confirmation would result in the law being overturned.

The Republican-led Senate is swiftly moving to confirm Barrett, aiming to have her on the Supreme Court bench in time for oral arguments on November 10.

If confirmed, Barrett would tilt the Supreme Court to a 6-3 conservative majority, which intensifies fears among Democrats about the potential dismantling of Obamacare.

The current challenge to the law is spearheaded by several Republican-dominated states, led by Texas, and backed by the Trump administration.

Legal Experts Weigh In

Despite these concerns, many legal experts believe the lawsuit against Obamacare lacks substantial merit. Jonathan Adler, a law professor, noted that the case law decisively undermines the claims made by Texas.

Barrett’s past critiques of Chief Justice John Roberts’ 2012 majority opinion, which upheld Obamacare, have fueled further apprehension. In a 2017 article, Barrett criticized Roberts for pushing the law beyond its plausible meaning to save it.

Moreover, Barrett’s admiration for the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, known for his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, adds to the anxiety surrounding her potential confirmation.

The argument against Obamacare hinges on the 2017 tax legislation that eliminated the financial penalty for not having health insurance. Opponents argue that this change renders the entire law unconstitutional.

However, critics of this viewpoint argue that the rest of the law should remain intact even if the tax penalty is deemed unconstitutional. Paul Clement, a Supreme Court lawyer, has stated that the challengers face a significant uphill battle in their efforts to overturn the law.

Conservative justices, including Brett Kavanaugh, have also shown reluctance to strike down entire statutes due to a single unconstitutional provision. Kavanaugh has written that constitutional litigation should not serve as a tool to dismantle a whole statute based on a minor flaw.

Barrett's Judicial Record

Barrett's record as an appeals court judge does not clearly indicate how she would rule on the current case regarding Obamacare. Legal experts highlight that the court could potentially rule that the challengers lack legal standing to bring the case in the first place.

Nicholas Bagley, another law professor, has expressed skepticism about the lawsuit's chances of success. He acknowledged that while the lawsuit likely won't succeed, there is still a small risk that it could.

The replacement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Barrett is a significant shift, potentially increasing the chances of the law being struck down. This possibility has galvanized Democrats, including Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, to vocalize their opposition to Barrett’s confirmation.

Kamala Harris, in particular, has warned voters about the implications of Barrett’s potential confirmation. She stated that President Trump, his party, and Judge Barrett are poised to overturn the Affordable Care Act if given the opportunity.

As the confirmation process unfolds, the future of Obamacare remains uncertain. While the legal community largely views the challenge as weak, the addition of Barrett to the Supreme Court introduces an element of unpredictability.

Barrett’s confirmation could have far-reaching consequences, not only for Obamacare but also for other significant legal precedents established by the court. As November 10 approaches, all eyes will be on the Supreme Court and its new composition.


Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court has raised significant concerns about the future of the Affordable Care Act. While her past criticisms of the law and admiration for conservative justices like Antonin Scalia fuel Democratic fears, legal experts largely believe the current lawsuit lacks merit. However, Barrett’s confirmation could introduce unpredictability into the court’s decision-making process. As the Senate moves swiftly to confirm her, the fate of Obamacare hangs in the balance, with potential implications for millions of Americans.

Written By:
Mae Slater

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