After facing a barrage of questions over the past two days from Democrats about her past writings and comment taking issue with rulings upholding the Affordable Care Act, Amy Coney Barrett was asked Wednesday by Sen. Patrick Leahy: “Did you ever write or speak out against the ACA?”
Barrett said her past criticism of ACA rulings was when “I was speaking as an academic.”
Leahy pressed her again on if she’s ever spoken in favor of the ACA. “No, I’ve never had a chance to weigh in on the policy question.”
Barrett, then a University of Notre Dame law professor, wrote in a 2017 law review essay, “Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute. 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.”
She continued, “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.”
Democrats have argued during the confirmation hearings that Barrett’s criticisms of Roberts’ 2012 ruling to uphold Obamacare, which she made before she was appointed to the federal appeals bench in 2017, were a sign that she would try to overturn it.
Barrett insisted that was not the case, saying she had no agenda when it came to the health care law. “I am not here on a mission to destroy the Affordable Care Act,” she said. “I’m just here to apply the law and adhere to the rule of law.”