Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court

The mom-of-7 will become just the fifth woman, and third mother, in United States history to serve on the nation's highest court.

Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court
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Judge Amy Barrett is now officially Supreme Court Justice Amy Barrett.

The legal scholar was confirmed by the Senate on Monday night to the Supreme Court—when sworn in, she will become just the fifth woman, and third mother, in United States history to serve on the nation's highest court.

The court now tilts heavily conservative, with six right-leaning justices on the bench, and three left-leaning ones, a balance that has raised serious questions about the future of abortion rights and health insurance coverage, among other major decisions expected before the court.

In his announcement of her appointment, President Trump told Judge Amy Coney Barrett that she is imminently qualified for the Supreme Court.

"Amy is more than a stellar scholar and Judge, she is also a profoundly devoted mother," he said, noting that, if confirmed, Barrett (a mother of 7) will be the first mother of school-age children ever to serve on the Supreme Court.

"Thank you for sharing your incredible mom with our country," President Trump said, addressing her children.


During the announcement appointment, Barrett promised that if confirmed she will serve the United States to the best of her ability.

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"I am truly humbled by the prospect of serving on the Supreme Court," she said, noting that she will remember who came before her, specifically the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, whose now vacant seat Barrett hopes to occupy.

Judge Barrett talked about Ginsberg's relationship with Barrett's mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia (with whom she shares a judicial philosophy).

Barrett clerked for Scalia, who disagreed with Ginsberg on many issues but maintained a warm professional relationship with her despite their opposing viewpoints.

"Justices Scalia and Ginsburg disagreed fiercely in print without rancor in person. Their ability to maintain a warm and rich friendship, despite their differences, even inspired an opera," Barrett said.

On her family + marriage

Barrett also discussed how two of her adopted children were born in Haiti, and one had Down Syndrome and is beloved by his siblings.

"Our children are my greatest joy, even though they deprive me of any reasonable amount of sleep," she explained, adding that her husband Jesse always asks what he can do for her and that he always finds ways to take things off her plate despite his busy law practice.

Judge Barrett made history today and the next steps in her journey will be history-making and controversial.

"I have no illusions that the road ahead of me will be easy, either the short term or the long haul," she said.

Making history and making controversy

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is President Trump's third Supreme Court pick and while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed that "President Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate" her nomination is opposed by many Democrats.

Days before her death the late Ginsburg dictated the following statement to her granddaughter: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

Ginsberg's statement aligns with a president set back in 2016 after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. At the time Senate Republicans were determined the seat should not be filled with President Obama's pick during an election year.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said at the time: "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President."

That's how many on the other side feel today in 2020.

Judge Barrett's voting record is considered conservative and her critics worry that her defense of overturning precedents could lead to overturning Roe v. Wade. However, in 2016 Barrett suggested it was unlikely the Supreme Court would overturn the mental decision in Roe v. Wade.

According to NPR, back in 2016 (during a talk at Jacksonville University) Barrett said: "I don't think the core case, Roe's core holding that women have a right to an abortion, I don't think that would change... But I think the question of whether people can get very late-term abortions, you know, how many restrictions can be put on clinics, I think that will change."

And in 2017, when President Trump nominated Barrett to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Barrett explained that while she is a devout Catholic her religious beliefs don't affect her decisions as a judge. When Illinois Senator Dick Durbin asked her if she identified as an orthodox Catholic she replied: "If you're asking whether I take my faith seriously and I'm a faithful Catholic—I am, although I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear in the discharge of my duties as a judge."

As Motherly previously reported, "Judge Barrett's dissenting opinion in a 2019 case is also notable. The case saw the Seventh Circuit rejected a challenge by Rickey Kanter, whose 2011 mail fraud conviction meant he was banned from possessing firearms for life. The Seventh ruled against Kanter's argument that federal and state laws preventing felons from owning firearms are unconstitutional, but Barrett dissented, stating that banning non-violent felons from owning guns treats the Second Amendment as a second-class right."

[This is a developing story and will be updated.]

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