The confirmation on Monday evening breaks precedent from 2016 when Republicans delayed President Obama’s choice for a new Supreme Court Justice for several months. Barrett’s confirmation comes less than six weeks after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on Sept. 18 and eight days before the 2020 election.
Senators began debating in a rare Sunday night session, where all Republicans planned to vote in favor of Barrett, except for Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Barrett’s confirmation gives the Republican party a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court and marks Trump’s third Supreme Court appointment in his presidential term. Barrett will be sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas during an outdoor ceremony tonight at 9 p.m ET.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump wasted little time choosing Ginsburg’s replacement after her death from pancreas cancer. Barrett was always the frontrunner for the vacant spot, despite her fewer years of experience compared to her colleagues on the Supreme Court.
Barrett’s confirmation has been protested by Democrats and members of the entertainment industry due to her conservative history. Her anti-abortion views could threaten women’s rights established in Roe v. Wade or even overturn the landmark legislation. Protesters have even dressed up in costumes from from “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the Hulu series in which some women are forced to bear children for a dystopian U.S. society, outside the Supreme Court to show their displeasure with Barrett’s confirmation.