Amy Coney Barrett

Illinois Democratic Senators React to President Trump's Supreme Court Nominee

Barrett would be the sixth justice on the nine-member court to be appointed by a Republican president, and the third of Trump’s first term in office

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Both Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth released statements voicing their concerns following President Trump's nomination of Chicago Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court Saturday.

"We're 38 days from Election Day & 45 days away from the Supreme Court taking up the case that will decide whether the Affordable Care Act survives," Sen. Dick Durbin said in a tweet. "Pres. Trump & Majority Leader McConnell want to rush Judge Barrett’s nomination through the Senate before those two dates arrive."

In a statement, Sen. Duckworth also stated she won't support Barrett's nomination.

“The stakes could not be higher: if Republicans insist on confirming Judge Barrett, the Court could roll back women’s reproductive rights, greenlight more dark money in politics, jeopardize voting rights and civil rights for Black and brown communities and knock down any progress on climate action," the statement read. "I voted against confirming Amy Coney Barrett to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit because she failed to demonstrate the capability or willingness to serve as an impartial, fair and independent jurist. Judge Barrett was not fit to be a Circuit Judge in 2017 and she is the wrong choice for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court today. Once again, she will not have my support.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will vote “in the weeks ahead” on Barrett’s confirmation. Hearings are set to begin Oct. 12.

While Democrats appear powerless to stop Barrett’s confirmation in the GOP-controlled Senate, they are seeking to use the process to weaken Trump’s reelection chances.

Barrett's nomination could become a reckoning over abortion, an issue that has divided many Americans so bitterly for almost half a century. The idea of overturning or gutting Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion, has animated activists in both parties for decades. Now, with the seemingly decisive shift in the court’s ideological makeup, Democrats hope their voters will turn out in droves because of their frustration with the Barrett pick.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have warned that a vote to confirm Barrett to the high court would be a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act. Schumer added that the president was once again putting “Americans’ healthcare in the crosshairs” even while the coronavirus pandemic rages.

No Democratic senators are expected to vote to confirm Barrett before the election, even though some did support her in 2017 when President Trump nominated her to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Two Democrats still serving in the Senate who voted to confirm Barrett in 2017, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, now say it’s too close to the election to consider her nomination.

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
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