NASW distressed Supreme Court pick could have devastating impact on Affordable Care Act

Sep 29, 2020

By Mel Wilson, LCSW, MBA
National Association of Social Workers Human Rights and Social Justice Consultant

Words Affordable Care Act  ACA written on a paper.Nominating a candidate for a lifetime appointment to this nation’s highest court during this electoral period undermines the democratic process. With polls showing clear opposition to fast-tracking Trump’s nominee prior to the election, we see this process as being a disservice to the American public. It is without a doubt that the Senate leadership, and individual senators, must respect the clear will of the American people.

The process for replacing the late Justice Ginsburg has not only been corrupted, it has the potential of having a devastating impact on social policy issues that are on the Supreme Court’s upcoming calendar, which begins on October 1, 2020. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is most distressed by the fact that the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is in serious jeopardy with the addition of an additional conservative justice on the Court.

Trump’s nominee is on record as being skeptical about the Constitutionality of key provisions in the ACA. It would be catastrophic if – in the era of COVID-19 – millions of low-income and middle-class Americans lose access to affordable health care. It is noteworthy that Judge Amy Barrett is on record in opposition to the Affordable Care Act, and even criticized Chief Justice John Roberts for his decision to uphold the law in 2012.

In addition to ACA, during its 2020-2021 session, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on LGBTQ foster parenting discrimination and adoption case (Fulton v. City of Philadelphia). This case is important because it addresses claims religious freedom by faith-based business owners and government contractors to refuse services to LBGTQ people. President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Ginsburg has made public statements that have been antagonistic to LBGTQ rights.

Mel Wilson

Mel Wilson

Of equal importance, are concerns about female reproductive health protections – such as Roe v. Wade. There is a certainty that Roe v Wade will be challenged and will be accepted by the Supreme Courts for review. With a Court comprised of five conservative leaning justice, it is not a question if Roe will be heard, but when. Given Justice Barrett’s staunch and vocal pro-life statements, the Supreme Court could highly likely overturn Roe v Wade.

NASW’s fundamental position is that President Trump, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, and all senators supporting this fast-track confirmation process are doing so with hypocritical disdain for Court nomination and confirmation procedures that they themselves established. They are also moving forward with disdain for public opinion that supports waiting until after the inauguration of our next president. Finally, they are disregarding the last wishes of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who said the next president has the right to choose her replacement.

NASW implores each member of the U.S. Senate to return to the historical values and integrity made that body  the envy of the world. This heavy-handed power grab may be the norm for our current President. However, we expect so much more from men and women who pride themselves as being the guardians of the public good.

Judge Barrett’s confirmation and induction onto the Supreme Court has as yet happened. This means, regardless of the odds against us, NASW will join with its coalition partners to convince the Senate to do the right thing.