Days before the election, a new Supreme Court judge takes the open seat.
By Savannah Simmons, Managing Editor
With only a week left until Election Day, the U.S. Senate has confirmed a new Associate Justice, Amy Coney Barrett, to the Supreme Court.
Monday evening the Senate was nearly split on the decision with 52 “yea” votes and 48 “no” votes, but Barrett succeeded Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat, solidifying a conservative majority in the system. Senator Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican who voted against Barrett.
"I am grateful for the confidence you have expressed in me, and I pledge to you and to the American people that I will discharge my duties to the very best of my ability," said Barrett after being sworn in.
The confirmation of Justice Barrett comes as a slap in the face to Democrats who argued that Ginsburg’s seat should not be filled until after the election, instead letting the voters decide who gets to appoint someone to the open position. This is not how it played out, however, as Barrett was sworn in exactly a month after Trump’s nomination.
“Today Republicans denied the will of the American people by confirming a Supreme Court justice through an illegitimate process — all in their effort to gut the Affordable Care Act and strip health care from millions with pre-existing conditions,” tweeted Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris. “We won’t forget this.”
Barrett served as a United States Circuit Judge from 2017 to 2020 and was a professor of law at Notre Dame Law School before and during her time as a federal judge. She is a devout Catholic and supports originalist interpretations of the Constitution.
“So in English, that means that I interpret the Constitution as a law, that I interpret its text as text and I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it,” said Barrett to the Senate. “So that meaning doesn’t change over time. And it’s not up to me to update it or infuse my own policy views into it.”
Although Barrett has said that her views will not hinder her choices in her new position, being a devout Catholic raises concern about how she will make decisions on LGBTQ+, abortion and birth control rights while being an originalist raises concern over the Affordable Care Act and racial issues.