Home News+Pop Culture Presidential election looming, Senate confirms a new SCOTUS associate justice

Presidential election looming, Senate confirms a new SCOTUS associate justice

Amy Coney Barrett

Eight days before the presidential election, the Senate fulfilled Majority Leader Mitch McConell’s promise to rush the appointment of a new associate justice to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacancy. 

Following a vote last week by the Judiciary Committee, the Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to become the 115th associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, where she can serve a lifetime appointment. In a private ceremony today, Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the Judicial Oath to Barrett, allowing her participation in the court to begin. 

Barrett is Trump’s third appointee to the Supreme Court

The White House applauds Barrett for being the first mother of school-aged children and the fifth woman ever to serve. She is also the only current justice to have a law degree from a school other than Harvard or Yale (she went to Notre Dame). 

“Courts have a vital responsibility to the rule of law, which is critical to a free society, but courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life,” Barrett said during her confirmation hearings. 

An article by Mother Jones pointed out Barrett is the least experienced nominee in three decades. Her resume includes 2 years of private practice (most of which were civil cases, not criminal), 15 years as a teacher and 3 years as a judge. She has never tried a case, argued an appeal or argued before the Supreme Court. The American Bar Association recommends lawyers provide 50 hours a year of free legal services, especially for the poor; Barrett has never done any notable pro bono work. 

The nomination process began exactly one month ago with a 150-person ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, which Dr. Anthony Fauci deemed a COVID-19 “superspreader event.” The Trumps, among numerous other White House staffers, tested positive for the virus days later. 

Confirmation met with resistance

Scenes outside the Supreme Court and Dirksen as the Judiciary Committee hearings begin for the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. Photo by Victoria Pickering

The speedy nomination process disregards Ginsburg’s final request before her death on September 18. According to NPR, she dictated to granddaughter Clara Spera that “my most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” With over 64 million votes already in, Republicans ignored the democratic notion to represent its people with an informed opinion.

The final vote came in 52-48. Vox noted that the 48 senators who voted against Barrett represent over 13 million more constituents than the 52 who approved her placement. 

McConnell was right when he said, “The Senate will render one of the most consequential judgements it can ever deliver.” With her appointment shifting to a 6-3 conservative majority, the Affordable Care Act, reproductive rights, LGBT rights and voting rights are vulnerable more than ever. Democrat leaders took to social media to voice their opinions. 

Haley Bosselman
Haley Bosselman is the editor-in-chief of Culturas. She grew up in Orange County and moved to Los Angeles after earning her bachelor's degree in journalism from Arizona State University. In May 2020, Haley completed the Master of Science in journalism program at the University of Southern California. She's written a lot about music, but is geared toward any culture-related storytelling.
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