Judge to Justice: Amy Coney Barrett Confirmed by Senate


Photo Courtesy of CNN 

By Javi Mazariegos

On Monday, October 26, Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The Republican majority Senate voted to accept Barrett’s nomination on Monday evening with a narrow vote of 52-48. This followed her unanimous approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 22, unanimous as Committee Democrats boycotted the vote. Every vote in favor of Judge Barrett came from a Senate Republican. Only the Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, in a tight race for reelection, voted to reject the nomination with her Democratic colleagues. Barrett is the first Justice confirmed without bipartisan support since 1869, when Edwin Stanton of Civil War fame was appointed by a Republican majority. 

On Monday night, Justice Barrett was sworn into office in a ceremony on the south lawn of the White House. Justice Clarence Thomas, the longest serving current Justice on the court, administered the oath to protect the Constitution during the ceremony. President Trump and Mr. Barrett joined them on stage with cheerful smiles.

Justice Barrett took the Judicial oath in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court the following day on Tuesday morning. Chief Justice Roberts swore her in while Jessie Barrett, Amy’s husband, held the Bible for her in the private ceremony. 

Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed in a fast-paced confirmation process days before the general election, counting as a major victory for President Trump and the Senate Republicans, some of whom, including Judicial Committee Lindsay Graham, are in tight reelection races. 

Amy Coney Barrett is the third Supreme Court Justice appointed by President Trump in the four years he has served. Mr. Trump has emphasized his number of Judicial appointees heavily in his reelection campaign, citing his 194 approved Federal Justices and now three to the high court. Republicans have been pleased with the effect of Mr. Trump’s years on the Federal Judiciary. 

At age 48, Barrett now cements a “6-3 Conservative majority” on the Court, meaning 6 of the nine Justices have been appointed by Republican Presidents. Democrats throughout the week have continued to raise concerns about the policy implications to millions of Americans by the court’s shift actualized on Monday night. 

“It’s becoming clear that we have a binary choice: We can have the Affordable Care Act, or we can have Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court,” Sen. Edward J. Markey (MA-D) said. “We can have the ACA or we can have the ACB, but we can’t have both.”

During her confirmation address Justice Barrett emphasized her judicial philosophy in light of her intense week of hearings in the Judiciary Committee. 

“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,” Barrett said. “The oath that I have solemnly taken tonight means at its core that I will do my job without any fear or favor, and that I will do so independently of both the political branches and of my own preferences.”

Barrett emphasized a great take away from her hearing process: a renewed appreciation for the vitally separate roles of a Federal Judiciary and Federal Legislature. Senator Ben Sasse (NE-R) spoke out in support of Barrett.

“She is an unparalleled nominee and will be a dazzling originalist on the Supreme Court,” Said Senator Sasse. “Democrats didn’t lay a glove on Judge Barrett in her confirmation hearings and I think she ran circles around politicians who want to outsource lawmaking to unelected judges.”

Justice Barrett is expected to get to work hearing oral arguments next Monday the way each of her predecessors have started. She has been met with calls to recuse herself from any cases dealing with the 2020 Presidential Election. Both parties have a circle around the date November 10 for arguments for California v. Texas which could decide the future for Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act. 

Cases involving religious freedom and same-sex union discrimmination are all held to be heard shortly in the court’s term. 

The effect of Justice Barrett on the court has sparked an inter-party debate among Democrats regarding court packing, with leftist progressives pushing for a Biden administration that would pack the court in order to nullify unfavorable policy outcomes. Former Vice President Joe Biden has yet to specifically speak out about what he would do about packing the court. 

Justice Barrett affirmed those at her ceremony that her judicial philosophy is that of the late Antonin Scalia, but instead of putting Justice Scalia on the court, they are putting Barrett on the court. 

Amy Coney Barrett is now the first Justice on the high court who did not attend an Ivy League school. She now adds the University of Notre Dame Law School to the very short list of schools that have educated Supreme Court Justices. After her White House swear in, the Notre Dame fight song played loud and clear. 

Some Americans have held Monday night as a historically significant moment for women in the United States. In particular, Justice Barrett’s seat at the high court gives young women a fantastic role model of someone able to serve at the very top of her profession while being open and welcoming to children and family life. Catriona Fee, a sophomore at Catholic University, certainly feels this way.

“I am overjoyed that Amy Coney Barrett has a seat on the Supreme Court,” Fee said. “Not only is she an incredible legal scholar and prudent jurist, but she is also a woman of remarkable character and the mother of seven children. Her life flies in the face of radical feminism, as she proves women do not have to sacrifice their family, faith, or character to have a successful career. I am profoundly inspired by her, and she is a role model for the next generation of women leaders.”

For many like Ms. Fee, Monday night was a prime example of how the United States has continued to flourish as a very special place. Who in 1792 would have thought that the executive mansion under construction on Pennsylvania Ave, overlooking the sleepy bank of the Potomac, would one day witness a black man proudly administer an oath of office to a woman? At that time, one of those persons would have likely been shackled in chains, the other would have been more than a century away from the right to vote. Monday night was a vindication of a nation, a nation with flaws in its past, but still able to provide opportunity for all, having been conceived in liberty and dedicated to a timeless and adventurous proposition: all women and men are created equal. 

For Catholics of that nation, Justice Barrett is a prime example of someone faithful to Catholic Church teachings with a very important “seat at the table.” Catholic University of America President John Garvey, who attended the south lawn event on Monday, tweeted his congratulations to Justice Barrett as well. 

“Congratulations to Amy Coney Barrett on her confirmation by the Senate to the US Supreme Court. I don’t believe there was another candidate as qualified as Amy to sit on our nation’s highest court. Well done!” 

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