Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court

Courtesy of

Isabel Birritteri, Contributing Writer

On Oct. 26, 2020, the Senate approved Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ginsberg on the Supreme Court of the United States.

With a strong partisan vote of 52-48, consisting of all Senate Democrats voting against and all but one Senate Republican voting in favor, Barrett was approved as the 115th Supreme Court Justice.

The law required that a justice receive 60 Senate votes to be approved, but was changed in April of 2017 to 51 votes.

Her approval pushes the Supreme Court to have a 6-3 conservative lead. Barrett, 48, is now the fifth woman and youngest Justice to ever serve on the court.

The timing of Barrett’s confirmation and her conservative views have caused great upheaval. In 2016, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly declared that the sitting president should not appoint a new Supreme Court Justice during an election year and that, “the American people should have a say in the Court’s decision.

It is a president’s constitutional right to nominate a Supreme Court Justice, and it is the Senate’s constitutional right to act as a check on the president and withhold its consent.” Garland did not have any proceedings.

The death of Justice Scalia and the blocking of Merrick Garland from the Supreme Court occurred in February of 2016, nine months before the election. The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg occurred on September 18, 2020, and the approval of Amy Coney Barrett occurred only eight days before the election on November 3.

During her hearings, Barrett answered specific questions about the Affordable Care Act, Roe v. Wade, and what she would do if the election was to be decided by the Supreme Court. She did state when asked these questions, “I would certainly hope that all members of this committee would have more confidence in my integrity than to think that I would allow myself to be used as a pawn to decide this election for the American people.”

Barrett was also questioned about her religious views, as she is a devout Catholic. She repeatedly claimed that her religious views would not and have not affected her decisions within the court, stating “I have a life brimming with people who have made different choices, and I have never tried, in my personal life, to impose my choices on them. The same is true professionally.”

For conservatives, Barrett is a preferred nominee. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina stated, “This is the first time in American history that we’ve nominated a woman who’s unashamedly pro-life and embraces her faith without apology.”

As a woman conservative Supreme Court Justice, Barrett has opened the door for other young conservative women to make it to other high courts.

Her approval to the Court also puts attention on Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden. During his town hall on Oct. 15, Biden stated that he would decide on adding Justices to the Supreme Court before election day, “depending on how they handle this,” referring to how the Senate would rule when approving Barrett.

Biden has been against court-packing in the past, but since the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the rush to replace her by Senate Republicans, his stance has changed. Expanding the court was proposed by some Senate Democrats if Barrett was confirmed.

Republicans have countered this request for expanding the court, saying that the Democrats simply want to pack the courts. In response, Democrats have shifted blame, stating that it is the Republicans who have already done so.