Sun | Nov 29, 2020

Barrett confirmed as US Supreme Court justice in partisan vote

Published:Monday | October 26, 2020 | 8:43 PM
President Donald Trump watches as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas administers the Constitutional Oath to Amy Coney Barrett on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, after Barrett was confirmed by the Senate earlier in the evening - AP photo

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amy Coney Barrett has been confirmed to the Supreme Court 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.

Monday’s vote was the closest high court confirmation ever to a presidential election, and the first in modern times with no support from the minority party.

The spiking COVID-19 crisis has hung over the proceedings.

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.

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 favour.”

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