Democratic Senator Claims Rant During Barrett Confirmation Is Reason Court Upheld Obamacare

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is taking credit for the Supreme Court’s rejection of an Affordable Care Act lawsuit.

Whitehouse was one of the loudest Senate Democrats to claim that Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court would mean the end of Obamacare. He admitted at the time of her confirmation that there was nothing that Democrats could do to stop her appointment, but that there would be “consequences” for Republicans doing so.

“This Supreme Court nominee has signaled in the judicial equivalent of all caps, that she believes the Affordable Care Act must go, and that the precedent protecting the ACA [Affordable Care Act] doesn’t matter,” he said at one point during the confirmation hearings. (RELATED: The Affordable Care Act Is Likely Here To Stay Even If Amy Coney Barrett Fills Supreme Court Vacancy, Experts Say)

Whitehouse also described Barrett as a “judicial torpedo” driven by “big donors” and “aimed at [his constituents’] essential protections.

At one point, he even brandished a marker and poster to demonstrate the way that conservative groups like the Federalist Society “pull strings and push sticks and cause the puppet theater to react.”

Barrett was one of the seven justices to rule that a challenge to the law’s individual mandate could not go forward because the plaintiffs lacked standing. With Obamacare upheld, Whitehouse is claiming vindication.

“If we hadn’t done that, maybe they would have” overturned Obamacare, Whitehouse told CNN’s Manu Raju.

He said he does not regret his comments “for a minute.”

Whitehouse frequently spreads unsupported theories about the influence of “dark money” on the Supreme Court. “Dark money” refers to undisclosed donations or financial contributions made to a particular person or entity, such as a non-profit, with the intent of influencing political outcomes, according to Open Secrets.

He is currently promoting a bill, with the help of liberal groups that receive dark money, that would require groups that file amicus briefs with the Supreme Court to reveal their donors. Whitehouse is an ally of the American Constitution Society, an organization that receives dark money.

Whitehouse claimed that “right-wing billionaire money has influenced the makeup of the court and may even be pulling strings at the court,” after the Court agreed to hear a case about a Mississippi law that outlaws abortion after 15 weeks.