With Coney Barrett confirmation, Senate majority continues its ‘power games’

By AFSCME Staff

AFSCME President Lee Saunders is blasting the Senate majority’s rushed confirmation Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court as yet another example of “corrupt political power games.”

While COVID-19 cases skyrocket and Americans continue to lose their lives and livelihoods, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his caucus “willfully turned their backs on relief for our communities, allowing more than 1 million front-line heroes to be laid off and millions of working people to needlessly struggle without a critical economic lifeline,” Saunders said in a statement released late Monday, after the confirmation vote.

Meanwhile, as funding for front-line heroes has languished, Saunders noted that the Senate majority “managed to work all weekend, even through the night, to push through the confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee who will gut the (Affordable Care Act) and take away health care and protections for millions of people with preexisting conditions.”

The solution to these political power games is clear, Saunders said: “Vote them out, end the corruption and fund the front lines.”

Coney Barrett’s past rulings in cases involving workers have been discouraging.

She has sided with “wealthy special interests at the expense of working people, especially those in public service,” AFSCME wrote in a letter to senators urging them to reject her nomination.

“In employment cases related to the real-life impact of making sure that individuals have a reasonable opportunity to contest workplace pay discrimination, she fails on the fundamental issue of fair pay and the important role it has in enforcing workplace rights,” AFSCME wrote.

In one case, Coney Barrett denied workers overtime wages protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In another, Coney Barrett ruled against workers who sought retribution for claims made against their employer for withholding pay to rent work uniforms.

An even more immediate threat to working families is Coney Barrett’s opposition to the ACA.

As AFSCME’s letter pointed out, during her confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Coney Barrett “failed to effectively distance herself from her statements on the constitutionality” of the ACA.

“From her comments, Judge Coney Barrett still sees the ACA as unconstitutional, even though the Supreme Court disagreed in its earlier ruling,” AFSCME wrote. “In doing so she makes it clear she sides with President Trump who selected her to gut this law in order to accomplish what he has been unable to accomplish by passing a new law.

This article originally appeared on the AFSCME Blog on October 27, 2020.

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