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Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today delivered opening remarks at the Supreme Court nomination hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Excerpts from the full statement follow:

Republican Hypocrisy:

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“When Justice Scalia died in February 2016, Senate Republicans refused to consider a replacement for his seat until after the election. At the time, Senator McConnell said: ‘The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice.’

When asked in October 2018 if Republicans intended to honor their own rule if an opening were to come up in 2020, Chairman Graham promised: ‘If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait till [after] the next election.’

Republicans should honor this word for their promise and let the American people be heard. Simply put, we should not be moving forward on this nomination – not until the election has ended and the next president has taken office.”

What’s at Stake:

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“The president has promised to appoint justices who will vote to dismantle that law. As a candidate, he criticized the Supreme Court for upholding the law and said: ‘If I win the presidency, my judicial appointments will do the right thing unlike Bush’s appointee John Roberts on ObamaCare.’

And when he appointed Judge Barrett to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat, the president said that eliminating the Affordable Care Act would be ‘a big WIN for the USA.’

Judge Barrett, you’ve been critical of Chief Justice Roberts for his 5-4 opinion upholding the law, stating that Roberts ‘pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.’

This well could mean that, if Judge Barrett is confirmed, Americans stand to lose the benefits that the ACA provides.”

Krystyna Munro Garcia’s story:

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“Consider people like Krystyna Munro Garcia of my home state.

At age 60, Krystyna’s eyesight started to fail because of cataracts. She had always struggled to obtain insurance because of pre-existing conditions, including c-sections and epilepsy. The cost of coverage – when it was even offered to her –averaged between $2,500 and $3,000 a month, far more than she and her husband could afford.

In 2010, she was able to obtain coverage through the Affordable Care Act.  Within weeks, she was able to have cataract surgery. This saved her life.

Krystyna described her reaction when she was able to get coverage through the California Health Exchange following passage of the ACA: ‘It was like manna from heaven. I cried. After all these years of struggling to obtain coverage, I was able to get insurance through the California Exchange, no questions asked about my pre-existing conditions. The premium was worth $200 a month, as compared to the $2,500 to $3,000 monthly payments I would have to pay before the ACA – if I could even get an insurer to offer me coverage.’

As Krystyna further explained: ‘People just don’t understand what it was like – the incredible fear before the Affordable Care Act – having to worry about being able to cover medical expenses and not being able to find affordable insurance.’

We can’t afford to go back to those days when Americans could be denied coverage or charged exorbitant amounts.”