WASHINGTON — Voting 52 for and 48 against, the Senate on Oct. 26 confirmed Amy Coney Barrett, 48, as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, replacing the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Barrett had been a federal appeals judge since 2018 and University of Notre Dame law professor starting in 2002.
Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, R, voted to confirm Barrett; Sen. Doug Jones, D, voted against the confirmation.
Republicans said Barrett is a brilliant jurist and person of faith who would respect constitutional wording and the boundaries of settled law in her rulings. But Democrats called her a threat to established law in areas including abortion rights, health care, minorities’ ballot access and LGBTQ rights. Democrats mocked Republicans for rushing Barrett onto the court days before a presidential election, after having sidelined former President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the court for nearly nine months in 2016 on grounds it was a presidential election year.
John Thune, R-S.D., said: “Judge Barrett brings a clear understanding of the proper role of a judge. She understands that the job of a judge is to interpret the law, not make the law… or, as (she) said in an answer to a senator’s question, `I apply the law. I follow the law. You make the policy.’ As (she) made clear in her hearing, she will be the kind of justice who leaves her personal beliefs and political opinions at the courtroom door.”
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said: “Confirming a lifetime appointment this late into a presidential election season is outrageous. It is even more galling, of course, because (Republicans) refused to even consider the Supreme Court nomination of a Democratic president on the grounds of the principle … that we should wait until after the presidential election because the American people deserved a voice in the selection of their next justice.”
The day before the confirmation, senators voted 53 for and 46 against blocking a Democratic motion for adjournment until after Nov. 3 so that the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation vote would not occur before Americans have chosen their next president. President Trump announced the nomination on Sept. 26 and the Judiciary Committee sent it to the full chamber Oct. 22.
Shelby voted to go forward with the confirmation and Jones voted against it.
The House was in recess during the legislative week ending Oct. 30.
Congress is in recess until the week of Nov. 9.