The Senate confirmed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday with just days to go before Election Day, solidifying the conservative majority on the court as it is set to consider several high-profile cases in the coming months.
Barrett was confirmed by a vote of 52-48 on Monday evening, after Democrats exhausted the procedural maneuvers undertaken to delay her confirmation.
Only one Republican, Senator Susan Collins, voted against confirming Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Barrett’s confirmation has left Democrats concerned about the fate of the nation’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act, and Roe v. Wade, the landmark law allowing women to have access to abortions.
The court will be hearing a case on the constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate in November. Barrett could also end up weighing on a general election-related case involving the man who nominated her, should the disputed results of the race between President Trump and Joe Biden come before the Supreme Court.
A White House official familiar with the planning told CBS News the White House is preparing to host an event after the vote Monday night honoring Barrett. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows also confirmed to reporters that if the Senate approves Barrett’s nomination — as is expected — he expects her to be sworn in following the vote.
Justice Clarence Thomas will administer the constitutional oath to Barrett at the White House after the vote, a senior White House official confirmed to CBS News.
A senior White House official also confirmed to CBS News that there would be required face coverings and social distancing at the White House event, in contrast to the nomination ceremony in the Rose Garden earlier this month. Several attendees of the ceremony, including the president, tested positive for COVID-19 after that “super-spreader” event.
Republicans have praised Barrett’s qualifications and her judicial record, but Democrats have slammed Republicans for pushing Barrett’s confirmation so close to Election Day after Republicans blocked Merrick Garland’s nomination to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat in 2016.
Republicans argued at the time that a Supreme Court nomination should not be considered in an election year, that voters should be able to weigh in by choosing their president. The newly elected president, they said, should select the justice.