Amy Coney Barrett has been confirmed by a 52-48 majority in the United States Senate, and will replace the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the United States Supreme Court. Barrett, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, was President Donald Trump’s (R) third Supreme Court nominee. Trump’s previous appointees were Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, who replaced the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, and Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who replaced retired Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Ginsburg died in September of complications from pancreatic cancer. She was part of the court’s ‘progressive wing’ and an advocate of the living constitution school of jurisprudence. Barrett is a ‘conservative’ jurist of the textualist school, and her confirmation is likely to bolster the court’s previously very narrow conservative majority.
The U.S. Constitution charges the Senate with providing “advice and consent” on judicial nominations. Republican senators failed to act on President Barack Obama’s (D) nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016, claiming that it was inappropriate to act on a nomination in a presidential election year. They have since reversed positions, citing either the treatment of Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh by Democrats during his confirmation hearings, or the alignment of the presidency and majority party in the Senate (a nuance that was never mentioned in 2016).
Barrett is expected to be formally sworn-in later this evening.