Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was sworn into the United States of America’s apex court not up to two hours after being confirmed by the Senate in a White House event.
Justice Barrett was solidly confirmed by the Senate by 52 against 48 votes. She was sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas at about 9 pm on the South Lawn of the White House.
“This is a momentous day for America, for the United States Constitution and for the fair and impartial rule of law. As president, I have no more solemn obligation and no greater honor than to appoint Supreme Court justices,” Trump said in remarks before her swearing-in.
President Trump highlighted Barrett’s experience, saying she has a “towering intellect” who by her confirmation will become the fifth woman to serve on the Supreme Court while adding that “She is one of our nation’s most brilliant legal scholars”.
After her swearing-in, Justice Amy Coney Barrett gave a brief address in which she said she would act impartially while serving on the highest court.
“It is the job of a judge to resist her policy preference,” she said while adding that it would be a “dereliction of duty to give in to them. This separation of duty is what makes the judiciary distinct among the three branches of government”.
President Trump, however, thanked Senate leadership, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who worked so hard to bring her confirmation to a vote in the chamber before the November presidential election.
All Senate Republicans except for Susan Collins of Maine voted to confirm Barrett, who was nominated by President Trump to take up the duty that was left after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed on in September. Her successful confirmation will tip the balance of the court to a 6 to 3 conservative majority.
Justice Barrett’s appointment sparked heavy criticism by Democratic lawmakers, who accused Republicans of a double standard after they blocked a pick by President Obama in 2016 because it was an election year.
Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer in an impassioned speech prior to Barrett’s confirmation slammed Senate Republicans describing them as being guilty of a “partisan theft of two seats” and a “hypocritical double standard.”
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said that Barrett’s nomination would usher in an unprecedented chapter of conservatism on the high court, “Simply put, Judge Barrett as Justice Barrett, I am convinced, will open a new chapter of conservative judicial activism unlike anything we’ve seen”.
McConnell, who championed the blocking of President Obama’s Supreme Court Justice nominee Merrick Garland from having a confirmation vote, said Barrett’s confirmation process was constitutional, “the process comports entirely with the Constitution. We don’t have any doubt, do we, that if the shoe was on the other foot they’d be confirming”.