Political Issue of the Issue: Amy Coney Barrett

September 26, after the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett as a successor to the late Justice. This decision sparked controversy, as Democrats argued a Justice should not be chosen so close to an election. The same argument was made in 2016 when the Republican held Senate refused President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland ten months before the end of his presidency.

However, committee hearings for Barrett began October 12. Questioning commenced on October 13 and ended October 14. Each member of the Senate Judiciary Committee was given the opportunity to question Barrett for 30 minutes the first round and 20 the second. In questioning, she refused to answer questions about Roe v. Wade or discuss gay rights. 

October 22, the Senate Judiciary Committee met and voted to send Barrett’s nomination to the Senate floor. The final vote was 12-0, or 12 yay and 10 no votes, with all 10 Democrats on the committee boycotting Barrett’s nomination. October 25, the nomination was on the Senate floor and was voted in favor of Barrett, 51-48, with all Democrats and Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins opposing. Floor debate began October 25 and continued overnight, ending October 26. In the final confirmation vote, the Senate voted in favor of confirming Barrett, 52-48, with all Democrats and Republican Senator Collins opposing. The evening of October 26, Barrett was sworn in as associate justice of the Supreme Court in the White House Rose Garden and assumed office October 27.

Prior to her Supreme Court nomination, Barrett served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1997 to 1998, then for Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1998 to 1999. She worked as a professor at Notre Dame Law School from 2002 to 2017. In 2017, Barrett was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit by President Trump and served until assuming office as an associate justice this year.