It’s a success for US President Trump – and could shape the US for decades: Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as the new constitutional judge. The conservative lawyer divides the country with her views.
Photo series with 17 photos
Conservative attorney Amy Coney Barrett moves to the US Supreme Court. The Senate in Washington confirmed the candidate for US President Donald Trump on Monday evening (local time). The decision was made with the votes of 52 Republican members of the Senate, 47 Democrats and one Republican voted against. That evening, the new constitutional judge was sworn in at a ceremony at the White House.
With Barrett’s confirmation, the US president achieved controversial political success about a week before the election. With Barrett, the Conservatives on the Supreme Court get a dominant majority of six out of nine seats. That could affect the development of American society for decades. Judges are appointed for life and the Supreme Court often has the final say on controversial matters – including abortion rights, health care and immigration policy. Before the November 3 election, Trump could score points with right-wing voters, for whom conservative constitutional judges are a major concern.
The judges of the Supreme Court are nominated by the President and appointed by the Senate. Barrett replaces liberal justice icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September. Trump really wanted to fill the vacant seat ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election. He also explicitly referred to possible legal proceedings concerning the counting of votes that could end with the Supreme Court.
Barrett takes an oath
Barrett took an oath to the constitution on the South Meadow of the White House barely an hour after the Senate vote. Then she was photographed with Trump on the balcony of the presidential residence. On Tuesday, when President Judge John Roberts was sworn in, she will become a full member of the Supreme Court. Barrett emphasized in a short speech that her political views and personal convictions would not play a role in the decisions of the Supreme Court.
It was Barrett’s second White House event. After the event for their nomination exactly a month earlier, several participants tested positive for the corona virus. This also included the President and his wife Melania. This time the chairs were at a greater distance, but again several participants did not wear masks.
Democrats tried to prevent Barrett’s occupation
This caused outrage among the opposition Democrats: they unsuccessfully called on the president not to fill the post so shortly before the elections. The opposition party argued that the election winner should have the right to appoint a new constitutional judge.
The Democrats were ultimately powerless against the conservative majority of the Senate. You are therefore trying to use the controversial personality to mobilize voters for the presidential and congressional elections. They warn that the conservative-dominated Supreme Court could reverse the health care reform of Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, which gave 20 million people access to health insurance. The right to abortion is also at risk.
Barrett, who is highly respected in conservative and religious circles, had refused to take a position on controversial issues such as the health system, abortion laws and same-sex marriage at the court hearings two weeks ago. She also declined to promise that she would declare herself biased if Trump went to the Supreme Court in the event of a possible election defeat.
Conservative Supreme Court majority – an advantage for Trump in the election
The incumbent has been behind his Democratic challenger Joe Biden in polls for months. Trump, who regularly denounces alleged electoral fraud without any evidence, has already made it clear that he would contest a possible removal by legal means. As with the 2000 presidential election, the outcome of the Supreme Court elections could end. A clear conservative majority in the Supreme Court gives Trump an advantage.
Before Barrett, Trump had appointed two conservative lawyers as constitutional judges since taking office: Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. Because the Supreme Court often has the final say in major disputes, the political orientation of the court is critical.
Demands’ demands to enlarge the court
Given the conservatives’ dominance in the Supreme Court, there have been recent calls by Democrats to extend the Senate court if Biden wins and the party wins.
Biden initially avoided answering the question of whether he would support such a move for a long time. Meanwhile, in an interview, he positioned himself against an extension, at least as a single measure. “The last thing we need is to turn the Supreme Court into a political football so that whoever has the most votes gets what he wants,” Biden said in a TV interview. “Presidents come and go, Supreme Court justices stay for generations,” he said.
At the same time, Biden wants to tackle a comprehensive judicial reform if he wins. He would then have a committee of Democrats, Republicans and constitutional experts advise on recommendations for six months, he said.