Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court late Monday by a deeply divided Senate, with Republicans overpowering Democrats to install President Donald Trump’s nominee days before the election and secure a likely conservative court majority for years to come.
Trump’s choice to fill the vacancy of the late liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg potentially opens a new era of rulings on abortion, the Affordable Care Act and even his own election. Democrats were unable to stop the outcome, Trump’s third justice on the court, as Republicans race to reshape the judiciary.
Barrett is 48, and her lifetime appointment as the 115th justice will solidify the court’s rightward tilt. “This is a momentous day for America,” Trump said at a primetime swearing-in event on the South Lawn at the White House.
Justice Clarence Thomas administered the Constitutional Oath to Barrett before a crowd of about 200. Barrett will be able to participate in the court after taking the judicial oath administered by Chief Justice John Roberts in a private ceremony at the court Tuesday.
Barrett told those gathered that she learned through the “rigorous confirmation” that “it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences.” She vowed, “I will do my job without any fear or favor.”
Vice President Mike Pence’s office said Monday he would not preside at the Senate session unless his tie-breaking vote was needed after Democrats asked him to stay away when his aides tested positive for COVID-19. The vote was 52-48, and Pence’s vote was not necessary.
Pence’s presence presiding for the vote would have been expected, showcasing the Republican priority. But Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and his leadership team said it would not only violate virus guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “it would also be a violation of common cency and courtesy.
Democrats argued for weeks that the vote was being improperly rushed and insisted during an all-night Sunday session it should be up to the winner of the Nov. 3 election to name the nominee. However, Barrett, a federal appeals court judge from Indiana, is expected to be seated swiftly, and begin hearing cases.
Speaking near midnight Sunday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called the vote “illegitimate” and “the last gasp of a desperate party.”
Several matters are awaiting decision just a week before Election Day, and Barrett could be a decisive vote in Republican appeals of orders extending the deadlines for absentee ballots in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Trump has said he wanted to swiftly install a ninth justice to resolve election disputes and is hopeful the justices will end the health law known as “Obamacare.”
Barrett presented herself as a neutral arbiter and suggested, “It’s not the law of Amy.” But her writings against abortion and a ruling on “Obamacare” show a deeply conservative thinker.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, praised the mother of seven as a role model for conservative women. “This is historic,” Graham said.
Only one Republican — Sen. Susan Collins, who is in a tight reelection fight in Maine — voted against the nominee, not over any direct assessment of Barrett. Rather, Collins said, “I do not think it is fair nor consistent to have a Senate confirmation vote prior to the election.”
Most other Republicans facing tough races embraced the nominee who clerked for the late Justice Scalia to bolster their standing with conservatives. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said in a speech Monday that Barrett will “go down in history as one of the great justices.”
In a display of party priorities, California Sen. Kamala Harris, the vice presidential nominee, returned to Washington from the campaign trail to join colleagues with a no vote.
No other Supreme Court justice has been confirmed on a recorded vote with no support from the minority party in at least 150 years, according to information provided by the Senate Historical Office.
On Sunday Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly to advance Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett toward final confirmation despite Democratic objections, just over a week before the presidential election. The vote then was 51-48.
Barrett’s confirmation on Monday was hardly in doubt, with a Republican majority mostly united in support behind President Donald Trump’s pick. But Democrats were poised to keep the Senate in session into the night in attempts to stall, arguing that the Nov. 3 election winner should choose the nominee to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Democrats, of course, held nothing back in their work to delegitimize Barrett’s hearing. They also asked the mother of seven different questions meant to demean her family, faith, and character. Liberals who should be proud she adopted two kids from Haiti accused her of being a “white colonialist.” Showing their racist views for a change instead of accusing republicans of being racists
The GOP has repeatedly maintained that getting Barrett confirmed to the Supreme Court is important and must happen prior to November 3; time has now shown that Republicans were committed to making this happen. The Democrats have realized that they had little to no recourse to block the nomination of Barrett.
As such, the Democrats are floating around the idea of packing the Supreme Court. Of course, this could only happen if Democrats were to regain control of the Senate and if Joe Biden somehow defeated President Trump. Biden has called the court out of whack and said he would have a committee of republicans, democrats, and independents to look into ways to change the court. If that were to happen that shows that Democrats don’t care about and are going against the wishes of their idol Ruth Bader Ginsburg who said she saw no need to change from nine judges. So much for respect for the dead.
The Senate Judiciary Committee made a unanimous decision to pass nominee Amy Coney Barrett despite Democrats boycotting the meeting.
Senator Schumer continued to make threats and support the boycott. However, Chairman Graham said “Judge Barrett deserved a vote and she will get one, despite the fact that the Democrats are being juveniles and refusing to participate.”
Schumer, of New York, said the Trump administration’s drive to install Barrett during the coronavirus crisis shows “the Republican Party is willing to ignore the pandemic in order to rush this nominee forward.”
Hey Chuck, republicans are showing that life must go on. You are just jealous because things didn’t go your way. If it was the opposite I’m sure you guys would forgo the pandemic rules
To underscore the potential health risks, Schumer urged his colleagues Sunday not to linger in the chamber but “cast your votes quickly and from a safe distance.” Some GOP senators tested positive for the coronavirus following a Rose Garden event with Trump to announce Barrett’s nomination, but they have since said they have been cleared by their doctors from quarantine. Pence’s office said the vice president tested negative for the virus on Monday.
The confirmation was expected to be the first of a Supreme Court nominee so close to a presidential election. It’s also one of the first high court nominees in recent memory receiving no support from the minority party, a pivot from not long ago when a president’s picks often won wide support.