THE NEUTRAL ZONE
The Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett 52-48 to become the 115th Justice on the United States Supreme Court and the fifth woman. She was sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas on the South Lawn at the White House Monday evening. In remarks following her swearing-in, Barrett pledged to do her job independently from political branches and her own preferences.
Barrett fills the vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and solidifies a likely conservative majority. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican to vote against Barrett’s confirmation.
President Donald Trump thanked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling Monday a “momentous day” for America. McConnell defended Barrett’s confirmation against criticisms of hypocrisy from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who warned Republicans that they could not tell Democrats how to act when they have the majority. McConnell said that if the shoe were on the other foot then Democrats would have pushed through their own nominee.
Barrett’s confirmation was the first since 1869 to receive no support from the minority party. In addition, her confirmation was the first to take place so close to an election, with millions having already voted.
Throughout her Senate hearings, Barrett was questioned by Republicans and Democrats regarding her policy positions and beliefs. Barrett said she was “not hostile” to the Affordable Care Act and added that she was in favor of “severability” when deciding whether portions of it are constitutional or not. Numerous lawmakers and publications also focused on her views on abortion and Roe v. Wade, though Barrett repeatedly avoided answering those questions. In a 2013 law review article, she indicated her preference toward rejecting precedent when a case is unpopular, specifically naming Roe v. Wade.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said that Barrett’s confirmation was a reminder that every vote matters. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “Expand the court.” She added that there is a legal process for that expansion. Rep. Ilhan Omar similarly said on Twitter, “The Senate GOP rammed through an extremist Supreme Court justice in a sham process as a final abuse of power before Election Day.” She called on the public to mobilize and vote.
The Inevitability of Amy Coney Barrett – The Atlantic – 10/26/2020
As it has become harder for the two parties to achieve their goals legislatively, the Supreme Court has become the ultimate trophy, a way to maintain influence over federal policy even when they get voted out of power. Barrett’s confirmation may lead to vicious reprisals in the war over the judiciary, which Republicans openly worry about. But for now, they are just enjoying their success.
Think This Election Will End Up in Front of the Supreme Court? It’s Already There. – Reason – 10/27/2020
In a few key swing states, the rules under which the election will be conducted remain unsettled, including the potentially all-important question of when the polls will actually close—that is, when will states stop accepting mail-in ballots. Newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett could help decide these questions, though she may recuse herself (more on that in a minute). The three outstanding cases involve absentee ballot rules in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Minnesota.
Donald Trump Gave The Conservative Legal Movement Everything They Ever Wanted – HuffPost – 10/26/2020
Conservative activists are now free to press forward with the agenda they’ve pushed since the Reagan era: criminalize abortion, ban racial preference in school admissions and elsewhere, cripple the federal regulatory state, roll back voting rights, civil rights and campaign finance laws and grant greater and greater powers to corporations. Whether voters support it or not.
Justice Clarence Thomas Swears In Amy Coney Barrett To The Supreme Court – Daily Caller – 10/26/2020
Though early October’s Senate Judiciary Committee proceedings were largely polite on both sides, Democratic committee members boycotted the final committee vote Thursday, which went 12-0 to advance the judge’s nomination to the Senate floor confirmation vote.