Fox News panel downplays risk to the Affordable Care Act under a far-right Supreme Court

Jonathan Turley: “It actually reminds me of the courtroom of John Wayne Gacy, not Amy Coney Barrett”

Video file

Citation From October 12, 2020, Fox News coverage of Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings:

BRET BAIER (FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL ANCHOR): Right. And it's Senator Lindsey Graham who runs this hearing and is giving equal time to everybody and that's how it usually goes in these confirmation hearings. Speaking of confirmation hearings, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1993, the chairman of that committee at the time a senator from Delaware, Joseph Biden. He presided over it and came up with what, essentially, was the Ginsburg rule which was questioning about specific cases that could come before the Supreme Court. And that was a no-no in that hearing. It became sort of the precedent going forward that you really couldn't grill a justice-to-be about something that was coming right before the Supreme Court.

Well, look at all of these focus -- the focus on the Democrats on this ACA case and all of the heart-wrenching stories and pictures that clearly, as Shannon mentioned, they're using for a political benefit to sway people at home. But as far as the actual case, it deals with the severability doctrine and basically just -- and Jonathan Turley can tell you this better than I can -- it would be to cut out a piece of the statute, the individual mandate, and possibly leave the rest of it intact. And there are justices like Brett Kavanaugh who might vote to do that or John Roberts. So to infer how she, Amy Coney Barrett would vote, is kind of a big united front that deals with politics and not the confirmation of this judge.


JONATHAN TURLEY (GUEST): Well, we've covered a lot of these confirmation hearings. I've never seen anything like this, with these giant pictures of ailing people. It actually reminds me of the courtroom of John Wayne Gacy, not Amy Coney Barrett. I mean, he had the same pictures all around the courtroom. These, really, are not her victims. It would be hard to come away visually without thinking that she was threatening these individuals. But that's the disconnect with this ACA case.

The ACA, in most likelihood, will not be struck down. John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh are expected by most people to support severability. So what's at issue, in that case, is whether the individual mandate being found unconstitutional means that the entire act has to be struck down. That's the issue. The individual mandate is already dead. The Congress negated the individual mandate. So the core question is not this overriding constitutional issue, it is one that cuts across the ideological spectrum. Whether a whole statute should die if a critical part is removed or struck down. Justice Kavanaugh just handed down a decision where he gave a roaring endorsement of severability. And most people believe that they don't have close to the votes to strike down the entire act.