The Senate has officially voted to elevate 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
One of the closest high court confirmations in American history, the decision came by way of a 52-48 floor vote Monday, with only one senator breaking rank to vote across party lines.
After hours of debate, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican Senate majority member to stand alongside an undivided Democratic caucus in opposition to the confirmation.
On Twitter, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina commended President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for a job well done, calling the confirmation a “great day for conservative women and the American people!”
A constitutional conservative on the Supreme Court who understands the difference between being a judge and a politician.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 27, 2020
Barrett is the third Trump-appointed jurist elevated to the Supreme Court during the president’s four-year Oval Office tenure.
Nominated a mere eight days after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sept. 18, Barrett is expected to re-balance the high court in favor of a firm 6-3 conservative majority — a reality that escalated tensions surrounding the matter, with Democratic senators and left-wing pundits alike crying foul and threatening radical action in response to an election-year confirmation.
The contentious nature of the discussion did little to influence Republican Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who announced on the night of Ginsburg’s passing that Republicans, who hold a 53-47 majority in the chamber, would move forward with efforts to fill the vacancy.
“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” McConnell said at the time after laying out his rationale: “In the last midterm election before Justice [Antonin] Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term.
“We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year. By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary,” the Senate majority leader said.
“Once again, we will keep our promise.”
The Senate and the nation mourn the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the conclusion of her extraordinary American life.
My full statement: pic.twitter.com/NOwYLhDxIk
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) September 19, 2020
In the days that followed, the Senate GOP took on a moderately more tempered pace, not introducing Barrett before the Judiciary Committee until Oct. 12 — roughly two weeks after her official nomination.
With Election Day looming, Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham was quick to shoot down concerns the body would not be able to confirm Barrett on time, telling Fox News, “More than half of the Supreme Court justices who have had hearings were done within 16 days or less.”
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, the senator was correct, as the nominees reported to the Judiciary Committee since 1975 saw an average of 12 days elapse between their committee report and the final floor vote.
Barrett, however, was ushered through the process in even less time, reported out of committee Thursday in a 12-0 vote and confirmed just four days later.
None of the Judiciary Committee’s Democratic members were present Thursday, boycotting the motion in light of unsuccessful efforts to publicly impugn the judge’s judicial fitness during a series of hearings held two weeks ago.
“We did it. We did it. Judge Barrett’s going to the floor.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks after the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to advance the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Democrats boycotted the vote. https://t.co/7Oge8WpTSS pic.twitter.com/czYzTUhz7R
— ABC News (@ABC) October 22, 2020
It was expected that horse trading would be all but unnecessary when it came to the final floor vote, with McConnell telling reporters last week he had already locked down the votes.
With Trump rival and GOP swing Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah having confirmed his support for Barrett on Oct. 15, very few votes were believed to be in play going to the floor.
An at-risk Sen. Collins had, of course, telegraphed her opposition weeks in advance — one of the first figures to do so.
Other perceived swing votes later made obstruction of the nominee all but impossible. Sen. Cory Gardner, who’s waging a tough re-election bid in Colorado, conversely voiced his likely support just a few days later, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska weighed in with her stamp of approval Saturday after previously signaling distaste for the idea of an election year confirmation.
Forecasting the final vote last week, Trump campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis told The Western Journal the contentious process and final decision would likely serve as a rallying cry for Senate GOP candidates seeking to drive voter turnout in the eleventh hour of the 2020 presidential campaign.
“Judge Barrett has shown her immense and impeccable qualifications to serve on the high Court as a judge — not an activist,” Ellis said in an exclusive written statement. “President Trump’s most lasting legacy will be his filling of judicial vacancies with actual judges, who will faithfully hold the two political branches accountable.”
“The American people need him in office for another four years to continue to preserve and protect this critical separation of powers. The Democrats and Joe Biden have clearly shown they don’t want to be held accountable and want a partisan, activist Court to rubber-stamp their unconstitutional policy agenda,” she added.
“I think the Court will be an important and crucial consideration for voters re-electing President Trump.”
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