Amy Connie Barrett was confirmed as the newest member of the Senate U.S. Supreme Court yesterday as Republicans overtook Democrats to nominate President Donald Trump’s nominee just days before the election.
Barrett’s confirmation is likely to win a conservative court majority in the coming years.
Trump’s decision to fill the vacancy of the late liberal icon Ruth Bader Jeansberg opens new rulings on issues including abortion, affordable care law, and the president’s re-election bid.
Democrats could not prevent Trump’s third justice from being confirmed in court, and Republicans are running to rebuild the judiciary.
Barrett is 48 years old and her lifelong appointment as the 115th Justice will strengthen the court’s conservative slope.
“This is an important day for the United States,” Trump said at a prime-time swearing-in ceremony at the White House in South Lawn, where he administered the constitutional oath to Justice Clarence Thomas Barrett in front of a crowd of about 200.
Barrett, who believes that “it is the job of a judge to oppose her policy priorities,” said: “I will do my job without fear or favor.”
Yesterday’s vote was the High Court confirmation closest to the presidential election, the first modern-day vote without the support of a minority party.
The growing Kovid-19 crisis has affected proceedings. Vice President Mike Pence’s office said he would not be presiding over the Senate session after Democrats were asked to step down when aides tested the corona virus.
The vote was 52-48, and Pence’s vote was not required.
“Every senator should be proud to vote to confirm this nominee,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who avoided “external” criticism in a lengthy speech.
During a rare weekend session, McConnell declared that Barrett’s opponents could not “do more about this for a long time to come.”
Democrats have been arguing for weeks that the vote is being held inappropriately and insisted on a one-night Sunday session in which the winner of the November 3 election must be nominated.
However, Barrett, a federal appeals court judge from Indiana, hopes to sit down soon and hear cases soon.
Speaking at midnight on Sunday, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren called the vote “illegal” and “the last consolation for the frustrated party.”
A week before Election Day, many things are waiting to be decided, and Barrett may be the deciding vote on Republican appeals extending the deadline for absent ballots in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Justices are also considering Trump’s urgent request that the Manhattan District Attorney be barred from collecting his tax revenue.
The court is expected to hear Trump’s backed challenge to the Obama administration’s affordable care law on November 10.
Just before the Senate vote began, the court refused to extend the deadline for Wisconsin absentee ballots.
Trump said he wants to quickly establish a ninth justice system for resolving election disputes and hopes that the justices will end the so-called “Obamacare” health law.
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In a public testimony several days before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barrett was careful not to disclose how he would rule in such cases.
She presented herself as an impartial mediator and suggested, “This is not the law of the land.” But her writings against abortion and the verdict “Obamacare” show a deeply conservative thinker.
Republican Senator Lindsay Abraham, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, praised the Mother of Seven as a role model for conservative women: “This is historic.”
The Republican focused on her Catholic faith and criticized Democratic questions about her beliefs. Abraham called Barrett “unwaveringly in favor of life.”
At the start of Trump’s presidency, McConnell amended a Senate law to allow the confirmation of a majority of 100 senators, replacing the 60 – vote limit traditionally required to field high court nominees.
It was the intensification of a legal change imposed by Democrats to put forward other courts and administrative nominees under President Barack Obama.
Within days of the Nov. 3 election, Republican politics is in jeopardy, endangering the presidency and their Senate majority.
Only Senator Susan Collins, a Republican who is running for re-election in Maine, voted against the nominee: “I do not think it is fair or consistent to hold a Senate confirmation vote before the election.”
Trump and his Republican allies expected a campaign boost, just as Trump created a court vacancy in 2016 that created excitement among conservatives and evangelical Christians.
McConnell refused that year to allow the Senate to consider the election of then-President Barack Obama to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, arguing that a new president should make the decision.