InQueensland

NEWS •⁠ POLITICS •⁠ BUSINESS •⁠ CULTURE

Get InQueensland in your inbox Subscribe

Trump gets a boost as his Supreme Court nominee is confirmed

Politics

US President Donald Trump has revelled in one of his signature achievements at a White House ceremony to celebrate Senate confirmation of his third Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, eight days before the election.

Print article

The made-for-TV prime-time event on the White House lawn mirrored one a month ago, when Barrett’s nomination was announced, which preceded a coronavirus outbreak among top Republicans including Trump himself.

It came little more than an hour after the Republican-controlled Senate confirmed Barrett to the lifetime appointment on a 52-48 vote, with Democrats unified in opposition.

Her confirmation as successor to liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month, creates a 6-3 conservative majority on the high court. One Republican, Susan Collins, voted against the confirmation.

“The Barrett family has captured America’s heart. It is highly fitting that Justice Barrett fills the sea of a true pioneer for women, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” Trump said with a smiling Barrett at his side.

In contrast to the White House event last month, more people wore masks and seats were spread out to ensure social distancing. Several of the Republican senators who voted to confirm Barrett were in attendance, although not Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has not been to the White House since August due to COVID-19 concerns.

Conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, wearing his judicial black robes, administered one of the two oaths of office that justices have to take.

In brief remarks, Barrett declared her independence from Trump and the political process even as the president stood behind her.

“The oath that I have solemnly taken tonight means at its core I will do the job without fear or favour and do it independently of the political branches and of my own preferences,” she said.

Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the separate judicial oath at the court on Tuesday, the court said in a statement.

Trump has said he expects the court to decide the outcome of the election and wants Barrett to participate on any election-related cases that go before the justices.

Barrett’s confirmation shifts the Supreme Court further to the right, which could pave the way to conservative rulings curbing abortion rights, expanding gun rights and limiting voting rights, among other things.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the Republican majority was “lighting its credibility on fire” by proceeding with the vote so close to the election after blocking Democratic President Barack Obama’s election-year nominee in 2016.

“The truth is this nomination is part of a decades-long effort to tilt the judiciary to the far right,” he added.

McConnell defended Barrett’s nomination.

“We don’t have any doubt, do we, that if the shoe was on the other foot, they’d be confirming,” McConnell said. “You can’t win them all, and elections have consequences.”

More Politics stories

Loading next article