Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) spoke today on the Senate floor in opposition to the nomination of Chad Readler to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In his position at the Department of Justice, Mr. Readler led the legal briefs for some of the department’s most extreme positions, including the DOJ’s legal brief for the Texas v. U.S. lawsuit, arguing against the Affordable Care Act’s protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Below are her remarks as prepared for delivery. Senator Cortez Masto’s remarks are available in both AUDIO AND VIDEO FORMAT.
I rise today to speak in opposition to the nomination of Chad Readler to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
This nomination, if confirmed, would be advanced without the support of one of his home state Senators, deliberately ignoring Senate precedent that has historically respected Senators’ ability to identify nominees that best fit the needs of their state.
In his current position at the Department of Justice, Chad Readler led the legal briefs for some of the department’s most extreme positions.
He defended President Trump’s travel ban, led efforts to end DACA, supported the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census, suggested that the structure of the CFPB was unconstitutional and argued that businesses should be able to refuse services to same-sex couples.
Mr. Readler also led the DOJ’s legal brief for the Texas v. U.S. lawsuit, arguing against the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, even while three other career attorneys at the DOJ refused to do so.
Think about that for a second. This nominee took up his pen and drafted a legal opinion at the Department of Justice that stated it was fine for his department not to defend the law. A law that protects millions of Americans’ access to the critical health care they need.
And if that wasn’t enough to shock the conscience, Mr. Readler’s nomination to the Sixth Circuit judgeship was announced the same day the brief was filed.
Is that a coincidence? Maybe. But since three other career lawyers at the Department of Justice resigned rather than draft this brief and violate their duty to the law, I think it’s fairly obvious.
This Administration has made it crystal clear that Mr. Readler was chosen because of his willingness to dismantle the ACA and completely eliminate critical protections that ensure seniors, kids and families in Nevada are able to get health insurance, regardless of whether or not they have a previous medical condition.
For many Americans, denying vital health care protections and access to care is truly a matter of life and death.
President Trump and Republican leaders have promised to sabotage our health care from day one, and this nomination is another example in a long line of legislation, nominations and executive actions aimed at ripping away health care coverage from hardworking families in Nevada, and across the country.
The Affordable Care Act is, quite simply, the law of the land.
Its patient protections have wide, bipartisan support, as evidenced by Congress’ inability to pass ACA repeal.
Since its inception, over 400,000 Nevadans have gained health care coverage, including 158,000 children.
Tens of millions more Americans across the country have gained access to affordable health insurance, prescription drug coverage, mental health services and preventative care
The ACA’s provisions have also guaranteed that over 1.2 million Nevadans with pre-existing conditions won’t be denied coverage because insurance companies deemed them “too risky” to cover.
We can’t go back to the days when women, veterans, cancer survivors and children with disabilities were charged more for health care, or flat out denied coverage.
Americans need us to work together to defend their access to quality, affordable health care.
Yet, Mr. Readler has shown us that he would instead take us backwards, unraveling more than a decade of progress and wreaking potential havoc on our economy.
This nominee has demonstrated that he’s willing to carry water for this President’s political interests, not serve in the best interests of Americans.
I oppose Mr. Readler’s nomination because Americans deserve a judge who respects the rule of law, and interprets the law based on statute, not the political needs of this, or any Administration.
I oppose this nominee because Senate Republican leaders are trying to jam him through without the support of one of his home state Senators, a direct attack on our constitutional role as United States Senators to advise and consent.
And I want my colleagues to know: a vote in support of his nomination is a vote in support of unleashing chaos on the American health system, eliminating pre-existing condition protections and would result in millions more uninsured.
Mr. Readler is a dangerous choice who has a long track record of supporting the most extreme legal positions which makes him unfit to sit on any court, much less one whose decisions will impact millions of Americans.
Thank you, I yield the floor.