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Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court


Justice Clarence Thomas administers the official Constitutional Oath to Barrett at White House

Leigh Vogel-Pool/Getty Images

The United States Senate has officially confirmed Judge Amy Coney Barrett as a U.S. Supreme Court justice in a 52-48 vote, despite pushback from Democrats who fought to stop the Republican-led upper chamber from moving forward with President Donald Trump's nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of Election Day.

Every GOP senator voted for Barrett's confirmation except Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), who joined Democrats in arguing that the nomination of a new justice should be made by whomever wins the presidential election on Nov. 3.

What are the details?

Ahead of the actual vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), declared from the floor that "today...will go down as one of the darkest days in the 231-year history of the United States Senate."

He went on to warn Republicans, "You may win this vote... But you will never, ever, get your credibility back. And the next time the American people give Democrats a majority in this chamber, you will have forfeited your right to tell us how to run that majority."

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gave a history of what has occurred in recent decades in the confirmation of justices, and explained to the chamber in his speech following Schumer's: "The reason we were able to do what we did in 2016, 2018 and 2020 was because we had the majority."

Vice President Mike Pence had originally been expected to preside over Barrett's confirmation vote in the Senate, but those plans were changed after several of Pence's close aides recently tested positive for COVID-19. As The Hill pointed out ahead of the vote, 52 Senate Republicans were "expected to vote for Barrett, which means the vice president" was not needed to break a 50-50 tie. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) served as Senate president during the proceedings.

The Associated Press reported that Justice Clarence Thomas administered the Constitutional Oath to Barrett, 48, before a crowd of about 200 on the South Lawn at the White House.

Fox News noted that "Thomas has long been considered one of the more conservative justices on the Court, along with Barrett's mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia."

Shortly after the vote occurred, the Supreme Court sent out a news release announcing that Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the Judicial Oath to Barrett in a private ceremony in a conference room in the court building on Tuesday, and that a formal ceremony will take place in the actual courtroom at a later date.

According to The New York Times, Justice Barrett "could start work" at the Supreme Court as early as Tuesday, once she has taken her oaths.

Roll Call reported that Barrett's confirmation "boost[s] the long-running advantage for justices appointed by Republican presidents from 5-4 to 6-3, which [means] the liberal wing would have to pick up at least two votes from the conservative wing to find any victories in cases on ideologically divisive issues."

This story has been updated.

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