Amy Coney Barrett Confirmed to the Supreme Court

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Bryce Johnson, Reporter

After being nominated by President Trump on Sept. 26 to fill the Supreme Court seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed by the United States Senate on Oct. 26. This confirmation shifts the conservative majority of the court to 6-3. This marks another victory for President Trump as he has confirmed 3 Supreme Court Justices in his four years of office. The President has also had over 200 conservative judges confirmed to U.S. District and Appellate courts.

This process was filled with objections from Democrats about the legitimacy of the hearing and if President Trump should have been able to nominate someone to the Supreme Court this close to the election. Much of the hearings turned into blatant attacks on the President, and many senators didn’t question Justice Barrett’s qualifications or her constitutional interpretation. The main rejections came on the grounds of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and healthcare by Senate Judiciary Committee members such as California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a ranking member of the committee.

“Health care coverage for millions of Americans is at stake with this nomination…My colleagues and I will focus on that subject,” Feinstein said.

During the hearing, however, Justice Barrett did not speak much on healthcare as she did not want to foreshadow her beliefs on a possible future Supreme Court case. In 2017, Judge Barrett wrote a law review article that was critical of Chief Justice Robert’s 2012 opinion on the ACA.

“Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statue,” she said.

Many Senate Democrats used this as a way to say that Justice Barrett would not protect the ACA. In reality, while this was looked at as an attack on the ACA policy, it was really a matter of statutory interpretation. Barrett disagreed with Chief Justice Robert’s interpretation of the text. She believed that he ruled the policy constitutional based on what the majority of Congress understood, instead of judging the document based on the text itself.

Democrats also attacked Justice Barrett on abortion and a women’s right to “reproductive healthcare.” Many Democrats argued that voting for Barrett could mean that Roe v. Wade and other cases involving abortion could be in jeopardy. Justice Barrett chose not to comment on this topic because Roe v. Wade and similar cases may be something that is ruled on by the Supreme Court.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-0 on Sept. 22 to approve President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. There are currently 22 members on this committee, and the 10 Democrats decided to boycott the committee in an act of protest. This vote left it for the full senate to confirm Barrett and it was done with a vote of 52-48. A minimum majority of 51 votes were needed to confirm Justice Barrett to the Supreme Court. All Republicans with the exception of Senator Susan Collins of Maine voted for Barrett’s confirmation.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett recited the judicial oath on Oct. 27 to officially begin her tenure as the 115th justice on the United States Supreme Court. She was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts at a ceremony in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court.

“My fellow Americans, even though we judges don’t face elections, we still work for you. It is your Constitution that establishes the rule of law and the judicial independence that is so central to it,” said Justice Barrett the night the Senate confirmed her. “The oath that I have solemnly taken tonight means at its core that I will do my job without any fear or factor, and that I will do so independently of both the political branches and of my own preferences.”