In the midst of a pandemic marked by more than 200,000 deaths and record unemployment, we need a principled defender of justice on the Supreme Court who is committed to upholding civil and human rights, including equal access to health care. As people of faith, we are compelled to speak up about actions that threaten our most vulnerable communities. We are deeply concerned about the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett and what it would mean for the millions of people who rely on the Affordable Care Act. President Trump has stated he will only nominate judges who would dismantle the ACA. Judge Amy Coney Barrett has demonstrated opposition to the Affordable Care Act and to the very premise that all deserve quality, comprehensive, and nondiscriminatory health coverage and services. Her place on the court places millions of Americans in very real peril.
Notably, the ACA represents a critical source of health care coverage for historically underserved communities and has been instrumental in covering a wide range of life-saving preventive services, including immunizations, without cost-sharing requirements, helping to reduce dramatic racial health disparities in access to care. Much is at risk in this nomination. Speaking from the teaching of our faith, we assert that health care for all should be defended, that human and civil rights should be upheld and expanded, and that the highest court in the land should be comprised of individuals who pledge to treat the most vulnerable among us with fairness and justice.
It is unconscionable that the administration and the Senate majority leader are moving with such swiftness to appoint a Supreme Court justice. We are nearing the end of an election season, one in which the people are currently voting on who they want in leadership positions that will chart the future of our country. Our democracy, after all, is reliant on the “will of the people” and this effort to shoehorn in a candidate, without thoughtful deliberation, speaks to a distrust of voters and a distaste for the true mechanics of governing. The alacrity with which the Senate and administration have moved to appoint a justice, but not move critical COVID legislation, is a telling glimpse into their priorities – crass political gain superseding the needs of vulnerable populations every time.
We are asking Senators to fulfill their constitutional duty of “advice and consent” rather than simply rubber-stamp a nominee for partisan gain. Too much is at stake to not conduct the nomination with measured and thoughtful deliberation in choosing someone who will hold a lifetime seat to the highest court in the land.
During her time on the bench, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg exemplified a federal judiciary that is of and for the people; that is fair, independent, and qualified; and that is committed to upholding constitutional rights for everyone. We now ask the Senate to follow her powerful example by putting the health and security of our nation and its people first and wait until after the inauguration to consider a nominee for the Supreme Court.
The National Officers of the United Church of Christ
John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President
Traci Blackmon, Associate General Minister
Karen Georgia Thompson, Associate General Minister