The swearing-in ceremony of the Honorable Amy Coney Barrett on the
South Lawn of the White House, 26 October 2020.
by Mary Foran
Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as the 115th justice of the US Supreme Court this week, fulfilling Donald Trump’s push to put another conservative on the bench before the Presidential election on November 3rd. She is the fifth woman to ever sit on the high court, and the only dissenting vote among the Republican Senators was Susan Collins of Maine, who is up for reelection, because she said she didn’t think that the vote should be taken before the outcome of the Presidential election is known.
“No Supreme Court justice is a certain vote,” said an article in the New York Times, and Judge Barrett pledged during her confirmation hearings to be an independent mind. “But she is widely viewed by both parties as a judge in the mold of Justice Scalia, her mentor, who would rule consistently in favor of conservative positions.”
Judge Barrett, 48, was Mr. Trump’s third nominee to the Supreme Court, but beneath her were 162 new district court judges and 53 appeals court judges who have been installed by Republicans over the past four years, roughly a third of the entire appellate bench. “Together, they could hold broad sway over American law and policy long after Mr. Trump leaves office.”
“This is one of the most brilliant, admired, and well-qualified nominees in our lifetime,” said Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader. Like five other justices, Judge Barrett is Catholic. A Notre Dame alumna, she is the only justice who did not graduate from Harvard or Yale. She also has seven children, two of whom were adopted.
So Amy Coney Barrett replaces the much-admired Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died still on the bench at the age of 87. While Ginsburg was a liberal, Barrett is considered a conservative, and will have some 40 years to prove it, if she lives so long, since being a Supreme Court Justice is a life-time appointment.
If the Democrats win the Presidential election, there is talk that they will consider extending the court to more justices and putting on term limits.
We will know the outcome of the Presidential election by next week.
Featured image/Official White House photo, Andrea Hanks,
Sen. McConnell official photo/US Govt., PD
Campaign billboards/Lorie Shaull, CC BY-SA2.0
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