Justice in Aging condemns the Senate for rushing through the Supreme Court nomination and confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Senate prioritized Justice Coney Barrett’s confirmation over passing long overdue relief to the millions of Americans who have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 225,000 Americans have died, with older adults age 65 and over representing 80% of these deaths. Older adults of color are disproportionately dying due to a failure to advance policies that address systemic racism. Residents in nursing facilities and other congregate settings continue to be infected at alarmingly high rates seven months after the first outbreak, while states are facing budget shortfalls that threaten all programs older adults rely on to remain living safely in their homes and communities.
Yet, instead of holding hearings and convening on weekends to pass a comprehensive coronavirus package to deal with the enormity of crises facing the nation, the Senate disgracefully rushed this confirmation through during an ongoing election in which over 63 million Americans have already cast their votes, undermining the integrity of the judiciary and showing a shocking indifference to American lives.
Moreover, as we articulated in a letter to the Senate, we are gravely concerned by Justice Coney Barrett’s positions on health care, racial inequities, disability rights, and gender and marriage equality. One of the first cases before Justice Barrett will decide the future of the Affordable Care Act – a law to which her opposition is well-documented. If the ACA is overturned, millions of Americans will be stripped of coverage entirely, 24 million older adults age 50-64 will lose pre-existing condition protections, and those enrolled in Medicare will face higher costs for medical care and prescription drugs – all during the worst global health crisis in a century. In addition, we are incredibly concerned that Justice Barrett was unwilling to affirm the constitutionality of Social Security and Medicare during her confirmation hearing.
Since 1972, Justice in Aging has used the power of law to fight senior poverty, and today, more than ever, we remain committed to that mission. We encourage all Americans to join us in that fight by voting to have our voices heard and to shape our laws and democracy.