Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Carper, Coons oppose Amy Coney Barrett confirmation, raise alarm about Affordable Care Act case

A clearly conservative-leaning Supreme Court will likely hear the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act next month.

Senators Tom Carper (D-Delaware) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware) opposed the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s seat. They spoke at Westside Family Healthcare in Wilmington Monday about the implications of the case seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act. 

Westside Family Healthcare’s Dr. Megan Werner said Monday that affordable health insurance through the ACA is key to helping her patients manage chronic conditions. 

“The ACA means giving patients access to medications, specialty care and other treatments that they need, while my colleagues and I can be confident that the cost of the care that we prescribe will not cause patients to have to choose between putting food on the table and getting the needed treatment,” Werner said. 

Sen. Coons said protections for pre-existing conditions and federal funding allowing tens of thousands of Delawareans to access Medicaid are at risk in the case. 

“Every woman in Delaware—a majority of Delawareans—are protected from pre-existing condition discrimination, just because they are women,” he said. 

Coons noted that Justice Ginsberg was a champion of gender equality. 

“To have the first case heard by Justice Barrett be a case that will reverse protections against gender discrimination in healthcare is the most galling piece of this of all,” he said. 

Both Coons and Carper are “no” votes on Coney Barrett’s confirmation that gives conservatives on the Supreme Court a 6-3 majority.

Coons has said he is open to the idea of adding Justices to the court to “rebalance” the federal judiciary. 

“One of the things that I think is often missed is how much over the last few years conservative judges have been put on circuit courts, and the Supreme Court, and district courts, and how much that may change the trajectory of justice in the coming years,” Coons said Monday. “I think we should look hard at it, and consider all reasonable proposals to balance our federal courts.”

Carper declined to comment specifically on the issue of court packing, but indicated he wants to see judicial reform. 

“There may be a better approach,” he said Monday. “This one important pillar of our democracy—the judiciary—is struggling. We’re certainly struggling with the confirmation process. I’m open to other options, and I think some of my colleagues will be too.”

Carper held up the example of Delaware’s judiciary—which has 12-year term limits and a requirement for partisan balance amongst judges on its top three courts.

A challenge to Delaware’s judicial balance rule is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
Related Content