Amy Coney Barrett's Appointment Won't Doom Obamacare, Fox News' Brit Hume Says

Fox News Senior Political Analyst Brit Hume argued Monday that Amy Coney Barrett is not a threat to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Democrats cannot know how she might rule on any case involving it.

Hume told Fox News' Special Report that the Democratic senators criticizing Coney Barrett as a threat to the ACA, which is also known as Obamacare, were wrong to assume how she would act.

One of those senators was Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris.

The quote

"You heard it expressed there by Kamala Harris among a number of others that Amy Coney [Barrett] is a sure vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act," Hume said.

"Of course, she has no idea of what Amy [Coney] Barrett would do regarding the Affordable Care Act and neither, really, does anybody else except it's worth reminding these Democrats of the state of play in that case.

"The case that is coming before the court is one in which the law was ruled that it had to fall because the penalty—the mandate penalty had been zeroed out therefore the justification that Justice [John] Roberts used for upholding it falls away and that the whole law must fall away.

"That's what's called severability, it's kind of a technical issue. It's not at all clear how Amy Coney Barrett would vote on that but remember, if she were not on the court, and it's decided by a 4-4 court, the lower court's ruling would stand and the law would fall away. So I'm not sure at all what danger she poses when you think about the posture of the case.

"Democrats seem impervious to that," he said.

Why it matters

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee argued during the first day of confirmation hearings on Monday that Coney Barrett would provide the necessary vote to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

"I do believe this hearing is a clear attempt to jam through a Supreme Court nominee who will take away healthcare from millions of people during a deadly pandemic that has already killed more than 214,000 Americans," Harris said.

"A clear majority of Americans want whomever wins the election to fill this seat, and my Republican colleagues know that. Yet they are deliberately defying the will of the people in their attempt to roll back the rights and protections provided under the Affordable Care Act," she added.


The Republican Party has opposed the Affordable Care Act since its introduction by President Barack Obama in 2010. In 2017, when the GOP controlled both houses of Congress and the White House, they tried to repeal the law but were famously defeated when the late Senator John McCain gave a thumbs down.

However, Congress did eliminate the financial penalty for violating the individual mandate - the part of the law that required healthier people to share the costs of insurance with sicker people by getting a minimum level of health coverage.

The Supreme Court is due to hear a case after the presidential election, California v. Texas, where the plaintiffs will argue that removing the financial penalty renders the individual mandate unconstitutional and that the law is unconstitutional in its entirety without the mandate. Democrats believe Coney Barrett is likely to rule for the plaintiffs.

Supreme Court Justice Nominee Judge Amy Coney
Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett listens during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice in the Hart Senate Office Building on October 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. With less than a month until the presidential election, President Donald Trump tapped Amy Coney Barrett to be his third Supreme Court nominee in just four years. If confirmed, Barrett would replace the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Democrats are concerned she will vote to overturn Obamacare. Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images