Cruz: Democrats Want to Pack DC Court To Save Obamacare

Image: Cruz: Democrats Want to Pack DC Court To Save Obamacare

Friday, 22 Nov 2013 10:25 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The White House is trying to save Obamacare by packing the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., with judges who will rubber stamp its "lawless behavior," Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says.

Senate Democrats, according to Cruz, enacted "the nuclear option" to prevent filibusters against appellate court nominees in order to make it difficult for Republicans to repeal the disastrous Affordable Care Act, Obama's signature healthcare legislation, The Hill reported.

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"The heart of this action is directed at packing the D.C. Circuit (court) because that is the court that will review the lawless behavior of the Obama administration implementing Obamacare," said Cruz, a leading force in the government shutdown last month in a confrontation over the Affordable Care Act.

"President Obama and the administration refuse to follow the plain text of the law, and the D.C. Circuit is the court of appeals that has been holding the administration accountable."

Cruz said the change in the filibuster rule, passed by the Senate on Thursday, was designed purely "to pack that court with judges that they believe will be a rubber stamp" to Democratic policy.

The D.C. court has a quota of 11 seats. Three have been vacant. Of the current judges, four were appointed by Republican presidents and four by Democrats.

Obama has nominated Patricia Millett, Nina Pillard, and Robert Wilkins, but their nominations were being filibustered by Republicans who worried a shifting balance of power.

The court is particularly important because it deals with decisions made by federal agencies and the White House, reports The Washington Post.

Cruz was echoing the sentiments of numerous Republicans, including Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who told Newsmax that the real reason for the "dangerous" ploy was "to create a controversy so they can escape criticism for Obamacare, which is wrecking the country."

Hatch claimed that Obama will use the D.C. court to pass legislation that he can't get through Congress.

Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana said that the "nuclear option" was intended by Democrats as a "distraction" from the failed launch of the Affordable Care Act and its website HealthCare.gov.

Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, declared that the fate of Obamacare may rest in the hands of the D.C. court.

"Lawsuits affecting the healthcare law will go through this court, and if the president is able to pack this court, it’s his effort to try to defend a law the American people don’t like and believe they can’t afford," he said.

Meanwhile, during an appearance on Bloomberg TV Thursday, Cruz suggested that he might use the expected budget crisis in January as a means of having the healthcare law repealed.

"There will be plenty of time to worry about the specific text," he said of the possibility of linking budget legislation to the removal of the Affordable Care Act.

"What I think is critical is that we keep focus on Obamacare and on fixing things. I think what we need to do is repeal in its entirety. I don’t know (if I can do that in January). I hope so."

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