The Rhode Island senator blasts the GOP's "hypocritical, tire-squealing 180" on the need to wait until after an election to fill a SCOTUS seat, but he really goes to town on Texas Senator (and failing candidate for re-election) John Cornyn for his devotion to Koch Brothers dark money.
October 12, 2020

In Day One of Amy Coney Barrett's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse roasted Senator John Cornyn on a spit for his connections and slavish devotion to the forces of dark money.

Barrett's nomination is that devotion fully manifested.

Senator Whitehouse methodically pointed out the "follow the money" path from the Koch Brothers to Cornyn to Amy Coney Barrett to the right-wing fever dream of abolishing Obama's Affordable Care Act.

As Senator Whitehouse paraphrased Senator Elizabeth Warren, when he appeared on Rachel Maddow's show last month, they will do anything to get control of the courts because the courts, filled with lifetime-appointed judges, will do undemocratic things - things that Congress and the president would never do.

First, Senator Whitehouse stirred things up, by finally waking the hearing up with appropriately outraged language.

"Trump can't even keep the White House safe."
"The whole thing, just like Trump, is an irresponsible botch."
"This Supreme Court nominee has signaled, in the judicial equivalent of all caps, that she believes the Affordable Care Act must go"
"The big secretive influences behind this rush see this nominee as a judicial torpedo they are firing at the ACA."

Then he called out the hypocrisy.

SEN. WHITEHOUSE: Since may the house passed two major COVID relief bills to tackle unemployment insurance, aid to the front lines, help to small business, support for hospitals, support for states and localities and plenty more. Mitch McConnell senate republicans won't budge. No urgency, he said. But 80 minutes after we learned of Justice Ginsburg's death, Mitch McConnell signaled he would fill this vacancy. The white house chose a replacement three days later. Justice Ginsburg hadn't been buried when the president and Senate Republicans celebrated Barrett's nomination at the White House super-spreader event. This was a hypocritical tire squealing 180 for many republican colleagues. When they blocked Merrick Garland, we heard nonstop about the importance before an election of the American people weighing in at the ballot box. Nonstop. That you shouldn't have a nominee appointed to the Court after the PRIMARY season had begun. Now the Americans voting right now in the general election, we get this mad slap dash rush. Why?

As he answered his own question with what many others have talked about — the Nov. 10th challenge to the ACA at the Supreme Court — he set his sights sharper and sharper on Senator Cornyn. The glorious takedown begins at 6:39 in the video above.

SEN. WHITEHOUSE: There's a promise to big donors that must be kept. When David Koch ran for vice president, he campaigned on getting rid of Medicare and Medicaid. Imagine his fury when Obamacare passed. His groups are spending millions right now on this nomination. Republicans in Congress tried and failed to repeal the ACA more than 70 times. It's in the Republican party platform for justices to reverse the ACA decision. Trump has over and over said this is his reason. And now we're in this mad rush to meet the November 10th argument deadline. And colleagues pretend this isn't about the ACA. Right. The travel of the ACA case leads to one senator's doorstep. In a Politico article yesterday, the senior senator from Texas tried to say that this rushed process isn't targeting the ACA. Look at the record. The district judge in Texas who struck down the ACA in the case now headed for the Court is a former aide to the senator, who's become what the Texas Tribune called "the favorite" for Texas Republicans seeking big judicial wins, like torpedoing the ACA. The senior senator from Texas introduced in committee a circuit court judge who wrote the decision on appeals striking down the ACA. Senator Cornyn has filed brief after brief arguing for striking down the ACA. He led the failed Senate charge to repeal the ACA in 2017. He said, "I've introduced and co-sponsored 27 bills to repeal or defund Obamacare, and voted to do so at every opportunity," and now, talking about socialized medicine, the old Republican battle cry against Medicare, Senator Cornyn and all of our colleagues on this committee are pushing to get this nominee on by November 10th, the time needed to strike down the Affordable Care Act. Please don't tell us this isn't about the Affordable Care Act. From Cornyn judge to Cornyn judge to this nominee, hop, hop, hop. When Texans lose their ACA health care protections, hop, hop, to see whose doorstep that sits on.

Twitter was especially appreciative.

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