Senate Confirms Amy Coney Barrett As Newest Supreme Court Justice
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court Monday evening, marking the first time in 151 years that a justice was confirmed without the support of a single member of the minority party.
Shortly afterward, President Donald Trump held a swearing-in ceremony for Barrett before a mostly masked, socially-distanced crowd on the South Lawn of the White House.
“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 told those assembled.
Justice Clarence Thomas administered the oath to Judge Barrett, who chose him for the occasion.
Political analysts called Barrett’s appointment the Trump administration’s greatest victory only a week before an election in which the president trails in opinion polls.
Democrats tried to slow down a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg until after the election. The Republican majority did not want to wait.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called Barrett’s nomination process a “cynical power grab” by Republicans.
He also said, “You will never, never get your credibility back.”
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said before the 52-to-48 vote for confirmation, “The Senate is doing the right thing.”
The vote split solidly along party lines. Barrett was sworn in about an hour later.
The same divided sentiment between Republicans and Democrats was found among the roughly 60 demonstrators who gathered outside the Supreme Court in the hours leading to the Senate confirmation vote.
Barrett’s supporters and critics tried to shout each other down in a cacophony of barely understandable slogans and insults. Others held up competing signs while mildly bumping shoulders.
The supporters included representatives from Young America’s Foundation, a conservative public policy group representing mostly college students. They passed out signs with Barrett’s photo and a slogan that said, “Confirm Amy.”
Like Barrett, Young America’s Foundation opposes abortion and the Affordable Care Act, the two issues that drew the sharpest divisions between Republicans and Democrats during Senate nomination hearings last week.
Spencer Brown, a spokesman for the Reston, Va.-based group, said he would not describe Barrett as a conservative.
“I perceive her as being an originalist,” he told The Well News.
Barrett described herself in the same way during the Senate hearings. She said she would uphold the Constitution and federal laws, regardless of her personal beliefs.
“She’s not going to rule based on the whims of what the local mob says,” Brown said.
Competing signs from Barrett’s detractors said, “Keep your laws off our bodies” and “Republicans are packing the court. Vote them out.”
Some female protesters wore red robes with white bonnets to evoke women from the television series based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. It is set in a totalitarian society ruled by a fundamentalist regime that treats women as property of the state.
One of them was Katherine Johnson, a pipe welder from Raleigh, N.C., who threatened reprisal against senators who confirmed Barrett to the Supreme Court.
“Even if they get this win, it’s going to be short-lived for those senators,” Johnson told The Well News.
Barrett’s opponents soon would vote them out of office, she said. She also doubted Barrett’s pledge during Senate hearings to remain unbiased in her rulings.
“I don’t believe she can remain impartial while holding the views she has,” Johnson said.
In The News
WASHINGTON – All six conservative justices on the Supreme Court appeared inclined Tuesday to support voting restrictions imposed in Arizona that critics say discriminate against racial minorities. The case, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (Consolidated), is one of the most watched of the current Supreme Court... Read More
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an effort by former President Donald Trump to shield his income tax records from N.Y. prosecutors. The court’s action is the apparent culmination of a lengthy legal battle that had already reached the high court once before.... Read More
WASHINGTON - The White House on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court it believes the Affordable Care Act should be upheld, reversing the position taken by the Trump Administration. The justices heard oral arguments in November in multiple cases involving a group of Republican-led states attempting to... Read More
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a pair of emoluments lawsuits against former President Donald Trump, ruling the cases are moot now that he's left office. The lawsuits were filed by the attorneys general for Maryland and Washington, D.C., and the government watchdog, Citizens... Read More
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court lifted a nationwide injunction Tuesday that had prevented the federal government from enforcing a rule that required women to see a health care professional in person before she'd be given access to a so-called abortion pill. The Food and Drug... Read More
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a challenge to President Donald Trump's plan to exclude people living in the country illegally from the population count as premature. Trump's insistence that illegal immigrants be excluded from the count could profoundly impact the number of seats... Read More