Bill Keating Challengers Mike Manley and Helen Brady Hit Congressman For Supreme Court Hypocrisy

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Congressman Bill Keating (D-Bourne) is not happy that Amy Coney Barrett may be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice, but his challengers are accusing him of hypocrisy.

Keating debated his two opponents — Brewster resident and pro-life independent Mike Manley and Republican Helen Brady of Concord — on WCAI’s The Point hosted by Mindy Todd on Tuesday morning.

Supreme Court nominees were a major point of disagreement.

Keating says the Republican Party is not being fair by going through with the nomination process for Judge Barrett when they would not confirm Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court when Barack Obama was president in 2016. At the time, Republicans justified not giving Garland a hearing by pointing out that it was an election year and arguing that the next president elected should fill the Supreme Court vacancy.

An additional fact that Republicans have emphasized lately is that in 2016 the Senate was held by the Republicans while the president was a Democrat. In the fall of 2020 — which is also a presidential election year — both the Senate majority and the president are Republicans.

Manley was first to respond to Keating’s complaints.

“Let’s not be hypocritical,” Manley said. “If it was the reverse roles and it were Democrats in power, they’d be doing the same thing. So all that gibberish I just heard is really a crock. If the people coming from Mexico and everywhere were gonna vote Republican, you know that wall would be built by the Democrats. It’s all hypocritical. It’s all gobbledygook.”

Brady said she agreed with Manley’s remark. She responded to Democratic attacks on Barrett that she poses a threat to the federal Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare), since the high court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in a constitutional challenge to the act on Tuesday, November 10. Democrats in the Senate have suggested that people with pre-existing conditions may lose their health insurance if the Supreme Court declares the act unconstitutional.

“It’s the same fear tactics,” Brady said. “Nobody says they want to take away pre-existing conditions on anyone’s health care. As a congresswoman, I would never let that happen. I’m a mother. I have kids. I would never let that happen, nor would Amy Coney Barrett. The congressman knows that. It’s just another scare tactic. I totally support her and the reason is she’s a woman who put her kids at the top of her to-do list and the reason she did this is because she cares about her kids, the future of her kids, the institutions, the freedoms, the rule of law.”

Keating was the first one to respond to the question from the moderator on the Supreme Court topic. The original question was whether or not he would support limiting Supreme Court justices to an 18-year term, instead of the lifetime appointment they currently get.

Keating spoke for more than his allotted two minutes on the topic but never answered the question. 

“It’s really an outrage with what we’re seeing transpire right now, Mindy,” Keating said. “We’ve had the chairman of the committee on record saying that we never should be what we’re doing now. After stalling Merrick Garland for nearly a year because the election were in the offset. We now are going through this. This nomination process started when 10 states were voting, already in the process of voting. There’s public outrage over this and an opportunity when things calm down. It’s a foregone conclusion that this justice will be appointed. 

“It’s a grave concern that that’s gonna tip the scale on our health care coverage, among other issues, including women’s right to privacy, women’s right to choose, the issue of how we’re going to settle an election if an election is contested,” Keating added. “All of those things could be occurring. When the dust settles on this, it would be a good idea to have experts, not affiliated with parties necessarily…”

Keating was then cut off by the moderator to give Manley an opportunity to speak.

Although there is some opposition to confirming Barrett to the Supreme Court, it’s a minority opinion.

A Morning Consult poll last week showed that 48 percent of voters supported confirming Barrett to the Supreme Court, 31 percent opposed, and 21 percent had no opinion. Plus, a Gallup poll released on Tuesday morning showed Barrett with 51 percent support and 46 percent opposition.

And while Keating made clear through his answer that he supports legal abortion, Manley took the opposite position earlier in the debate. He said he is pro-life and a Catholic. Brady never mentioned her stance on abortion or religion.

“Every morning I wake up and thank God that I’m living in the United States,” Manley said. “I’m Catholic. I say the rosary every day for all the friends I have that are sick, all the friends I have that passed away. I’m also pro-life.”

As the incumbent Democrat in the race, Keating is the favorite to win the election. A Democrat has not lost a U.S. House race in Massachusetts since 1994.