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Senate Republicans Make Chad Readler, Who Argued To Overturn Protections For People With Pre-existing Conditions, A Lifetime Federal Judge

By March 7, 2019No Comments

Yesterday, in a near-party line vote, Senate Republicans confirmed Chad Readler to a lifetime appointment as a federal judge, despite Readler’s well-known history of fighting to strip protections from Americans with pre-existing conditions. Yesterday’s vote sends a clear message: Republicans remain intent on trying to take away Americans’ health care.

News outlets were quick to point out Readler’s health care history:

New York Times: Senate Confirms Trump Nominee Who As Justice Official Fought The Affordable Care Act. “The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Chad A. Readler of Ohio as President Trump’s 33rd federal appeals court judge despite bipartisan criticism that as a Justice Department official in the Trump administration he had shirked his official responsibility to defend the Affordable Care Act when it was challenged in court…The fight over Mr. Readler was intensified by his role in the legal struggle over the Affordable Care Act, which Democrats said he was obligated to defend as a top lawyer in the Justice Department’s civil division because it was existing law. Instead, he filed a brief in support of a lawsuit by Republican attorneys general aimed at gutting the Affordable Care Act, and argued that it, and its protections against denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, was unconstitutional.” [New York Times, 3/6/19]

HuffPost: Chad Readler Fought Obamacare Protections. Now He’s A Lifetime Federal Judge. “The Senate voted 52-47 to make Readler, 46, a lifetime federal judge. Every member of the chamber’s Democratic caucus opposed him with the exception of Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who did not vote. Every Republican but one, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, voted for him. Democrats raised lots of concerns with Readler, who until recently was President Donald Trump’s acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil division. In this role, Readler defended efforts to weaken voting rights, defended Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military, defended his ban on people from Muslim-majority countries visiting the United States and argued that a worker can be fired because of his or her sexual orientation. But most of the criticisms by Democrats centered on Readler’s role as a top attorney and policy advisor for the Justice Department when it declined to defend key provisions of the Affordable Care Act in response to a lawsuit filed by Republican state attorneys general. Readler made the legal argument that protections for pre-existing conditions are unconstitutional. The next day, Trump nominated him to be a federal judge.” [HuffPost, 3/6/19]

Wall Street Journal: Senate Confirms Readler “Over Objections About His Participation In The Trump Administration’s Decision To Stop Defending Major Parts Of The Affordable Care Act In Court.” “A divided Senate confirmed a top Justice Department lawyer to be a federal appeals judge Wednesday, over objections about his participation in the Trump administration’s decision to stop defending major parts of the Affordable Care Act in court. The 52-47 Senate vote confirmed Chad Readler for a seat on the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee…Mr. Readler last year signed a Justice Department brief that declined to defend much of the Affordable Care Act against a challenge from a group of Republican-led states seeking to invalidate the health-care law. A Texas judge struck down the entire health-care law in December. That ruling is on hold for now and the case is on appeal.” [Wall Street Journal, 3/6/19]

Politico: Senate Confirms Trump’s Judicial Nominee Who Opposed Obamacare. “The Senate confirmed President Donald Trump’s controversial judicial nominee on Wednesday who supported a lawsuit challenging Obamacare. In a 52-47 vote, the Senate approved Chad Readler’s nomination to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine joined Democrats to vote against the nominee. In the lead-up to his confirmation vote, Senate Democrats framed Readler’s confirmation battle as a test for Republicans over whether they supported protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions.” [Politico, 3/6/19]

The Hill: Senate Confirms Controversial Trump Court Pick Who Backed A Lawsuit Challenging The Affordable Care Act. “The Senate on Wednesday confirmed a controversial federal circuit court pick who backed a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act.  Senators voted 52-47 on Chad Readler’s 6th Circuit nomination, with GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) siding with Democrats to oppose him. Readler, who previously worked as an assistant attorney general for the Civil Division at the Department of Justice, ran into controversy over a brief he filed last year supporting a lawsuit filed by Texas and other states seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act.” [The Hill, 3/6/19]

And Democrats were clear:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY): “Can You Imagine The Lack Of Compassion It Takes To Argue That 130 Million Americans, With Cancers, Respiratory Ailments, All The Way Down To Asthma, Don’t Deserve The Guarantee Of Affordable Health Care?” “‘Can you imagine the lack of compassion it takes to argue that 130 million Americans, with cancers, respiratory ailments, all the way down to asthma, don’t deserve the guarantee of affordable health care?’ asked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). ‘It’s going to be remembered, this vote, for a long time. A long, long time.’” [HuffPost, 3/6/19]

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): Readler “Single-Handedly Tried To Rip Insurance Away From West Virginians And Americans.” “‘This is something I don’t do often,’ Mr. Manchin said. ‘I don’t take it lightly.’ But Mr. Readler, he said, had “single-handedly tried to rip insurance away from West Virginians and Americans” when his Justice Department responsibility was just the opposite. ‘This gentleman has basically shown it is not about the law; it is not about the Constitution; it is about his politics and himself and not a man who should be sitting on a higher court,’ Mr. Manchin said.” [New York Times, 3/6/19]

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH): “Chad Readler Is A Clear And Immediate Threat To The Health Coverage Off Millions And Millions Of Americans Who Have Preexisting Conditions.” “The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed Columbus attorney Chad Readler to be a judge on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals over objections from Democrats including U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who portrayed Readler as a right-wing idealogue who has ‘actively worked to strip Ohioans of their rights.’ ‘Chad Readler is a clear and immediate threat to the health coverage of millions and millions of Americans who have preexisting conditions,’ Brown said at a Tuesday press conference to decry Readler’s confirmation.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3/6/19]