Amy Coney Barrett and healthcare: 6 notes

President Donald Trump has announced that he is nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7thCircuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.

She would fill the high court opening created by the Sept. 18 death of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Six notes about Ms. Barrett and her views on healthcare:

1. She has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit since 2017.

2. She clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia from 1998 to 1999 and clerked for Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

3. Her nomination comes less than two months before the Supreme Court is set to hear a case questioning the legality of the ACA on Nov. 10. The White House argues the entire ACA is invalid because in December 2017, Congress eliminated the ACA's tax penalty for failing to purchase health insurance. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is leading 20 states and the District of Columbia in defense of the ACA before the Supreme Court. 

4. The Senate could potentially confirm Ms. Barrett this year. If she is confirmed and participates in the ACA case, the court would have six Republican appointees and three Democrat appointees, bringing greater uncertainty about the future of the health law, according to The New York Times.  

5. Ms. Barrett's views on the Trump administration's arguments in the case are not known, the Times reported, but she previously criticized Chief Justice Roberts's 2012 opinion sustaining the law's individual mandate. 

"Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute," she wrote. "He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power; had he treated the payment as the statute did — as a penalty — he would have had to invalidate the statute as lying beyond Congress's commerce power." 

Ms. Barrett made the comments in a January 2017 law review article written before she joined the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

6. A Senate Republican aide, who spoke to NBC News on the condition of anonymity, told the news station it was a "fool's errand to predict how judges will rule" on particular cases after confirmation and indicated Ms. Barrett likely will address the issue during the confirmation process.

 

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