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Senate confirms Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, a week ahead of election

By Clare Foran and Ted Barrett, CNN

    (CNN) -- Senate Republicans voted to confirm President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Monday, a major victory for the President and his party just days before November 3, that could push the high court in a more conservative direction for generations to come.

The stakes in the Supreme Court battle are immense and come at a pivotal time in American politics in the run up to an election in which control of Congress and the White House are on the line.

Trump's appointment of a new Supreme Court justice marks the third of his tenure in office, giving Republicans a historic opportunity to deliver on the key conservative priority and campaign promise of transforming the federal courts through lifetime appointments. Trump is expected to swear-in Barrett at the White House in an outdoor ceremony later Monday night, a source familiar with the invitation tells CNN.

Barrett, who is 48 years old, is likely to serve on the court for decades and will give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, a shift in its makeup that could have dramatic implications for a range of issues that could come before it, including the future of the Affordable Care Act and any potential disputes regarding the 2020 election.

Senate Republicans, who hold a majority in the chamber, pushed ahead with one of the quickest nomination proceedings in modern times following the death of the late Justice and liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month.

They moved to confirm Barrett over the objections of Democrats who have argued that the process has been a rushed and cynical power grab that threatens to undermine Ginsburg's legacy.

"By any objective standard, Judge Barrett deserves to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. The American people agree. In just a few minutes, she'll be on the Supreme Court," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said ahead of the final confirmation vote.

Justice Clarence Thomas will administer the official Constitutional Oath to Barrett at the White House, a senior White House official told CNN.

The confirmation battle has played out in a bitterly-divided Senate, but the outcome has not been in question for much of the fight. With few exceptions, Senate Republicans quickly lined up in support of Barrett after her nomination by President Trump, while Democrats united in opposition.

Two Republican senators crossed party lines to vote with Democrats in opposition to Sunday's procedural vote -- Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Collins, who is facing a competitive re-lection fight, voted against the confirmation Monday over concerns that it's too close to Election Day to consider a nominee. Murkowski had already announced, however, that she will ultimately vote to confirm Barrett in the final vote, but said that she would vote against the procedural vote after having previously voiced opposition to taking up a nominee to fill the open seat so close to the election.

Senate Republicans largely rallied around the nomination, however, praising Barrett as exceedingly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. Republicans, who have a 53-seat majority, only need 51 votes to confirm a new justice.

Senate Democrats, in contrast, have decried the nomination and the confirmation process.

Democrats have warned that Barrett's confirmation will put health care protections and the Affordable Care Act in jeopardy. They have argued that the confirmation process has been rushed and accused Republicans of hypocrisy in moving ahead with the nomination after blocking consideration of former President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in 2016.

"The Republican Party is willing to ignore the pandemic to rush this Supreme Court nomination forward," Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a floor speech on Sunday.

Democrats, who are in the minority, have been limited in their ability to oppose the nomination, but have protested the process in a variety of ways.

When the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance the nomination, Democratic senators on the panel boycotted the vote, filling their seats instead with pictures of people who rely upon the Affordable Care Act in an effort to draw attention to an upcoming case on the health care law's constitutionality and their arguments that Barrett's confirmation would put the law at risk.

During confirmation hearings, Democrats sought to elicit answers from Barrett on a number of controversial topics the Supreme Court could take up. Barrett repeatedly declined, however, to specify how she might rule on a range of topics, from the Affordable Care Act to Roe v. Wade and the high court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

Barrett explained during the hearings that she shared a philosophy with the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, whom she clerked for, but argued she would not be an identical justice if she is confirmed.

"If I'm confirmed, you would not be getting Justice Scalia. You would be getting Justice Barrett," she said. "And that's so because originalists don't always agree."

This story has been updated with additional developments Monday.

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31 Comments

    1. SPeaking of that. Hunter’s photos and other dirt is being leaked. If we had a real press in this country it would be a worldwide scandal. Even Paul Pelosi, Nancy’s son, is in photos tying up what appear to be a young Chinese girl. Imagine the dirt the Chinese government has on these creeps and their families. No wonder big tech is doing everything it can to protect these scumbags. So please democrats keep calling this a smear. This is disgusting on so many levels and God help us if that creep Biden manages to win. Anyone who wants the photos and the documents just needs to search. Normally Journalists would do that but we know they are all in for Gropey Joe.

      1. Today a former associate of Joe Biden’s came forward on the Lars Larson show explaining that he traveled with Joe Biden and Hunter Biden on Air Force 2 many times during Joe’s Vice Presidency. This associate confirmed the dire situation that the Hunter Laptop poses. Also confirmed other information involving the business dealings and that Joe knew because Hunter, James, and Joe talked about everything.

        1. But if CNN and AP ignore it it isn’t really corruption. It is just like they covered for Obama. There is VIDEO of Biden saying he will ban fracking and they say, “ but he never said it.”
          They will not be able to ignore what is leaking out of China. It is grotesque. The Obama, Biden, and Pelosi clans are going to have some serious ‘splanin to do. But Orangeman bad so we will see what happens.

    1. Yeah. You would think Hillary would be happy another woman was confirmed to SCOTUS seeing how she keeps telling about that glass ceiling and all. Instead she unleashes a verbal projectile vomit of foul bile at Americans.

  1. Hopefully the conservative majority in the supreme court lasts for some time. It is one of the main ways preventing asinine liberal agendas from being pushed onto the American people.

    1. It’s been there for a long time and it’s just bigger now. It won’t stop the Trumpists from whining how they’re the victims. That’s what they do.

      1. Roberts was never a constitutionalist and neither is Gorsuch. The Obama appointees do exactly as they are told by their progressives so that only left A couple who actually read the constitution. The Bush clown gave us Obamacare. Hardly anything conservative about rewriting that POS unconstitutional law.

        1. The claim that Scalia was so successful in selling—that extremely conservative political outcomes just happen to flow from strict textualism—is BS. The reality is that many big Constitutional fights are based on applying purposefully vague words (e.g., “due process” or “unreasonable searches and seizures”), sometimes in contexts in which the 18th century meaning would not even be sensible (e.g., is the duplication of computer code a “seizure” even if the owner still has “the original”? If not, would you really think that’s at all what the property-rights-obsessed Federalists meant?). It’s preposterous to claim that what conservatives do is somehow of a different nature than what so-called liberal Justices have done; they’re both interpreting words that call for (wait for it) judgment in many applications, just like any other law does.

    1. We are an unsinkable ship. You might damage the ship but our ship is self repairing. But you ship has been taken over by skurvy ridden varmints. Your ship is disease infested. Full of sociopathic lunatics. People who never think for themselves. Jobless basement dwelling trolls.

  2. And all you jerk republicans and cons say the Dems are divisive? This is the single most divisive act by congress ever! You all suck and will get your Karma!

    1. What about us independents that want the 3 branches of government to be respected? Seems like the Republicans Karma ran over the Dems Dogma! 6-3 ouch!

      BTW don’t forget we are a Republic! And we elect our leader through 50 individual state elections!

      So go hang out in your Kansas cornfield and vote!

      1. “All” judges believe they rule on laws, not make them. What you have been led to see as “activist” judges are just more honest about the methodology. If it were so obvious as to how every law (whether constitution, statute, or administrative regulation) applied in every situation, then the practice of law and the decisions of the judiciary would be far simpler affairs, but the reality is that individual words have ranges of meanings (and sometimes, as with the ever-popular “reasonable,” necessarily call for some judgment), arrangements of words may have multiple interpretations, and provisions within a law (or different laws) may appear to conflict when actually applied.

  3. she’s a remarkable pick for the court. amazingly smart woman.
    so surprising (NOT) that liberal women would choose to keep her down if they could …. just because she doesn’t personally feel the way they do.
    the difference?
    women like her don’t allow their personal views to shape their every act in life. which is what RBG did – which was unbefitting to her post.
    love RCB!
    may she be the judge RBG was simply, personally incapable of being.

    1. Her extreme views do NOT represent the vast majority of Americans. She was hand picked by far right radical groups Trump has been using for his court picks. We deserve better! She will be stripping the rights of women, LGBTQ folks, voting rights just to name a few. Trump is a cancer to this country once he is out in a few months we will have a reckoning in our country and you right wingers might not like what has to be done to keep the scales of Justice fair and balanced. To bad!!!!!

      1. Lighten up. Name any rights that have been stripped from a republican nominated SCOTUS justice. Every single democrat says the same exact thing. Free stuff and “rights” are completely different things

        1. The Republican-nominated majority of the US Supreme Court showed its willingness to disregard the most fundamental of rights under our federal Constitution when it usurped the Florida Supreme Court’s role in interpreting Florida law in the 2000 Presidential election. Absolutely amazing that people who claimed themselves to be states’ rights supporters ignored this and just took the political win. This past term, the Espinoza vs. Montana decision deprived non-Christians of their 1st Amendment rights regarding the separation of church and state. The Shelby County case from earlier this decade deprived Texas voters of their 14th Amendment rights.

  4. If only there had been warning signs earlier.
    Kinda like the “It’s about the Supreme Court stupid!” Bumper stickers from the 2000 election.
    Then we could have guessed the Koche brothers had a strategy in mind.

    15+ years later and every looks up from there devices and realize they weren’t paying attention.
    The real chagrin is from the realization that “stupid” was paying attention but fell for it anyways.

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