The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – just weeks before the U.S. presidential election – has thrown national politics into a tailspin.
Sen. Dick Durbin, Illinois’ senior senator and the Senate minority whip, is bracing for impact.
President Donald Trump said he will announce his nominee to fill Ginsburg’s vacant Supreme Court seat on Saturday.
Durbin noted the Supreme Court is slated to hear arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, one week after Election Day on Nov. 3.
“If they can put this new Supreme Court justice on the court in time for that hearing Nov. 10, then tradition has it, that person can vote as to whether the Affordable Care Act survives,” Durbin said Wednesday on “Chicago Tonight.”
When asked whether he thinks Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican senators could push a Supreme Court nominee through committee and floor votes to appoint a new justice before that Nov. 10 hearing, Durbin said, “Yes, I do.”
The Center for American Progress, a liberal policy research institute, estimates a repeal of the Affordable Care Act could leave more than 23 million Americans uninsured.
The Senate’s 53-47 Republican majority means four Republican senators would need to vote with Democrats to block Trump’s nominee before inauguration.
So far, only two have said they’d wait until January to vote for a new justice: Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
“Two Republicans have said that. We need two more, perhaps during the course of this debate, two more will step forward, but at this point, we don’t have them on our side,” Durbin said.