Justice Amy Coney Barrett confirmed
It’s officially Justice Amy Coney Barrett now. On Monday, the Senate voted to confirm Barrett to the nation’s high court in a vote of 52-48. Immediately following the vote, Justice Clarence Thomas administered the constitutional oath during a White House ceremony.
Barrett becomes the first conservative woman to serve on the Supreme Court as well as the first woman with school-aged children. She will be able to start her official duties on Tuesday after taking her judicial oath which will be administered by Chief Justice John Roberts according to a press release from the Supreme Court.
The newly appointed justice told the crowd gathered at the White House that she believes the separation of duty is what makes the judiciary distinct.
“It is the job of a senator to pursue her policy preferences,” she said. “In fact, it would be a dereliction of duty for her to put policy goals aside. By contrast, it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences. It would be a dereliction of duty for her to give into them. Federal judges don’t stand for election. Thus, they have no basis for claiming that their preferences reflect those of the people.”
Barrett joins a conservative majority on the Supreme Court and is the third justice nominated by President Donald Trump. All Senate Democrats voted against her confirmation. They were joined by Republican Senator Susan Collins who finds herself in an extremely tight reelection in Maine. It was Collins who eventually cast the deciding vote for Trump’s last Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
“I do not believe the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election,” Collins said in a statement last month. “In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the President or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd.”
Democrats were livid with the confirmation process from the beginning citing the upcoming election and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as reasons the Senate should have delayed Barrett’s confirmation. Democrats serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee even boycotted the final committee vote on the nomination.
New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) responded to Barrett’s confirmation on Monday night by tweeting, “Expand the court.” Her comments were echoed by several other progressive members of Congress. Some Democrats have threatened to use court-packing as payback for Barrett’s appointment should they win the November elections.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has all but refused to answer questions about whether he would pack the courts.
During a recent interview with “60 Minutes,” Biden said he would likely set up a bipartisan commission that would advise him on reforming the court system.
“I will ask them to, over 180 days, come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system because it’s getting out of whack,” Biden said.