In a highly controversial vote on Monday evening, the Senate voted 52-48 to confirm Amy Coney Barrett as a Supreme Court Justice. It was clear from the beginning of the controversial confirmation hearings in mid-October that the Republicans had the necessary votes to confirm Coney Barrett to the bench. Despite widespread protests from Democrats, Amy Coney Barrett is now a member of the Supreme Court.
What Happens Next?
An outdoor swearing-in event is taking place on Monday night despite concerns over COVID-19. After a similar event several weeks ago honoring Coney Barrett’s nomination, several prominent White House staffers and government officials, including the President himself, tested positive for COVID-19.
With Coney Barrett now an official member of the Supreme Court, here is the current makeup of the court as it stands starting tomorrow:
- John G. Roberts a conservative white man appointed by George W. Bush
- Clarence Thomas a conservative Black man appointed by George H.W. Bush
- Stephen G. Breyer a liberal white man appointed by Bill Clinton
- Samuel A. Alito a conservative white man appointed by George W. Bush
- Sonia Sotomayor a liberal Latina woman appointed by Barack Obama
- Elena Kagan a liberal white woman appointed by Barack Obama
- Neil M. Gorsuch a conservative white man appointed by Donald Trump
- Brett M. Kavanaugh a conservative white man appointed by Donald Trump
- Amy Coney Barrett a conservative white woman appointed by Donald Trump
This confirmation gives the conservatives a solid 6-3 majority.
How Will This Impact The Coming Days and Weeks?
With just 8 days until election day, this confirmation could impact not only the presidential election but various senate races throughout the country. Although record numbers of Americans have already voted, there are still millions waiting to cast their votes. The American people were highly conflicted on the issue of Amy Coney Barrett and her rushed nominations. Many on both sides of the aisle opposed the decision to rush the confirmation of Coney Barrett before the election. In 2016, the Senate, led by Mitch McConnell, blocked President Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland, for 8 months citing the election year. The apparent hypocrisy of the move may not sit well with voters.
Will the Democrats try to “pack the court” pending the results of next week’s election? The Biden campaign has largely dodged these questions in the last several weeks, saying that they will put together a panel of experts to analyze the court system and look at possible reforms. There is nothing strictly written in the constitution that requires the court to have only 9 justices. If the Democrats win both the Presidency and the Senate, it is conceivably possible that Biden could appoint more justices to the Supreme Court.
The stock market has been suffering incredible dips and recoveries in the last several weeks. Just this morning stocks took a significant turn for the worst as COVID-19 cases skyrocket throughout the country. The confirmation is not likely to have a huge impact on stocks in the coming days, but it could serve to further destabilize a market already reeling from the effects of a contentious election and a global pandemic.
Amy Coney Barrett could begin working on the Supreme Court as early as Tuesday morning.