Amy Coney Barrett Confirmed to Supreme Court by Divided Senate
In a victory for Republicans, Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation has sealed a 6-3 conservative majority a week before Election Day.
In a 52-48 vote, the US Senate on Monday confirmed Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the Supreme Court eight days before the presidential election.
The vote was split almost exactly along party lines. Senator Susan Collins of Maine, currently embroiled in a tough fight for re-election, was the only Republican senator to join the unified Democrats in opposition to Barrett’s nomination.
President Trump oversaw Justice Barrett’s swearing-in ceremony on Monday night after returning from a campaign event in Pennsylvania. “This is a momentous day for America, for the United States constitution and for the fair and impartial rule of law,” he said. “She is one of our nation’s most brilliant legal scholars and she will make an outstanding justice on the highest court in our land.”
Trump’s Democratic rival for the presidency, Joe Biden, said that the appointment was “rushed and unprecedented”, and evidence that Trump “wants to tear down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety.” Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, expressed a similar sentiment, calling Barrett’s confirmation “a disgrace, not only because of what she will do when she gets on the bench, but because of the entire process.”
Barrett fills the seat left vacant by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away on 18 September. Senate Democrats have uniformly denounced the appointment, noting strongly conservative opinions on abortion rights and healthcare expressed by Barrett in the past, putting her at odds with Ginsburg’s staunchly liberal legacy.
Democrats have also accused Republican senators of hypocrisy, citing the GOP-majority Senate’s refusal to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee in 2016. At the time, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell declared that “action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over.”
Barrett was tapped for the Supreme Court a week after Ginsburg’s death. The 30-day gap between her nomination and confirmation marks the fastest approval of a Supreme Court justice since 1975, where the Senate unanimously confirmed Justice John Paul Stevens to the bench 19 days after his formal nomination.
Chief Justice Roberts will administer the Judicial Oath to Barrett today in a private ceremony to take place in the Supreme Court’s East Conference Room, according to a press release.
“Upon administration of that oath, she will be able to begin to participate in the work of the Court,” the press release said.