The Republican-led Senate voted 52-48 to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court Monday after a contentious confirmation battle. Her ascension to the high court replaces a leftist justice with an originalist, shifting the court’s balance of power back towards the Constitution after a century of anti-Constitutional dominance thanks to President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Barrett is expected to be sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas at the White House on Monday night.
Barrett, a 48-year-old judge previously on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, takes a seat vacated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who passed away last month at the age of 87 due to complications from pancreatic cancer.
The Senate confirmation comes approximately one week before the November election, sending Democrats into an uproar over the president and the elected Republican majority fulfilling its constitutional duty to fill the vacancy. Barrett is the third Supreme Court justice to be appointed and confirmed by President Donald Trump.
In 2017, Republicans filled the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia with Justice Neil Gorsuch after capturing the White House in 2016. In 2018, Democrats attempted to derail Trump’s second nominee, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, with unsubstantiated allegations of sexual assault.
Democrats have pledged to pack the Supreme Court with additional justices if swept into power next week. The proposal has been left an open question for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who has refused to make his position clear in public but has signaled his willingness to overhaul the judicial institution to circumvent constitutional barriers to permanent Democrat rule.
WATCH: In an interview with Joe Biden for @60Minutes, @CBSEveningNews' @NorahODonnell pressed Biden on his position on so-called "court packing." It's a controversial proposal that would add justices to the Supreme Court, from its current nine.
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) October 22, 2020
Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, has also emphasized she is “open” to the idea of court-packing in retaliation for Republican senators lawfully employing the duties voters have given them.
While Barrett’s confirmation battle came in the prime of an election season, Democrats focused their attacks on the appointment’s close proximity to election day and complained that the conservative judge’s commitment to faithfully applying the law would pose an obstacle to Democrat desires.
Barrett was also subject to criticism based on her Christianity. Reuters and Newsweek characterized Barrett as a character in the dystopian “Handmaid’s Tale” and protestors donned red cloaks to mock the judge for her participation in the Christian community “People of Praise.”
Activists dressed in Handmaid's Tale costumes rally in front of the Supreme Court to oppose the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett in Washington, D.C., U.S., October 22, 2020. REUTERS/Ken Cedeno pic.twitter.com/7xH5W6kETy
— Idrees Ali (@idreesali114) October 22, 2020
One MSNBC analyst even posted pictures on Twitter of Barrett in a face mask to compare the court nominee to a sex slave from scenes in the television series based on the “Handmaid’s Tale.”
Sorry but this has been on my mind all day. Carry on. pic.twitter.com/p1VmbdYoBx
— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) October 13, 2020
Barrett’s arrival to the high court comes at a tumultuous time. Deep divisions permeating all levels of government have heightened concerns of violent unrest following next week’s election echoing what the nation suffered in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s death.
The court could be at the center of the chaos within days by presiding over the election outcome conducted amid a once-in-a-generation pandemic with Barrett now serving on the bench.
On Nov. 10., the Supreme Court will also begin hearing arguments that could dictate the future of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “Obamacare.”