The president, Donald Trump, succeeded on Monday in placing his nominee, conservative judge Amy Barrett, on the Supreme Court and thus consolidating the right-wing majority for the coming decades in the country’s highest court.
Barrett was confirmed tonight in the Senate and just an hour later was sworn in at the White House by her new colleague Clarence Thomas, considered the most conservative judge – at least so far – on the High Court.
“I will work without fear or favor. I will do so regardless of political powers or my own preferences,” Barrett said after being sworn in in a brief speech in which he had words of thanks for both Trump and the Republican senators.
The ceremony was similar to that of his nomination just a month ago when the coronavirus spread among senators, officials and perhaps Trump himself, although this time the attendees were practically all wearing masks and sat at a distance.
TRUMP’S LAST LEGACY?
Barrett’s confirmation in the Senate this Monday comes after a rushed and controversial process that began last September 18 with the death at age 87 of charismatic Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a symbol of feminism and progressivism.
Faced with the possibility of losing both the Senate and the White House in next week’s elections – as all the polls indicate – Trump nominated Barrett without delay on September 26, even before Ginsburg was buried, whose posthumous wish was that her replacement be chosen by the outgoing president.
The Democrats opposed Barrett just as the Republicans opposed Barack Obama’s last year to confirm his Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, but now, with a minority in the Senate, they finally conceded that they could do nothing about it.
Finally, 52 Republicans confirmed Barrett on Monday for his new life position, while 47 Democrats and Republican Susan Collins (who is gambling on reelection next week in the Democratic state of Maine) voted against it.
A SUPREME (MORE) CONSERVATIVE
The Republicans thus took advantage of their control over the Executive and the Senate to further decant the Supreme Court, which with Barrett’s arrival is left with six conservative and three progressive judges.
Trump, in fact, has succeeded in confirming three of these justices, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Barrett, in just four years in power, which is very unusual in a single term.
The fact that these posts are for life and the youth of the new justices nominated by Trump tip the composition of the Supreme Court to the right probably for decades, with its consequent decisions on issues such as abortion, public health, and immigration.
Conservatives, in fact, see Barrett’s confirmation as a “historic victory” for those opposed to abortion, because the judge has opposed that right guaranteed in the U.S. since 1973, although she has been reluctant to clarify whether she would vote to undermine it.
SUPREME COURT REFORM
Against this backdrop, many Democrats, especially the more progressive ones, are advocating reforming the High Court if it wins the Executive and Legislative in the next elections, expanding its current composition of nine judges.
“The Republicans are doing this because they don’t think we Democrats have the guts to play hardball like them. And for a long time, they have been right. But let’s not allow them to intimidate people into thinking that their outrage is normal, but a response is not. There is a legal process to expand (the court),” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter.
However, the Democratic candidate for the White House, Joe Biden, has not clarified during the campaign if he is in favor of expanding the court, although he has said that he will form a commission to study possible reforms.