U.S. Senate has confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court

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Amy Coney Barrett wearing a black robe
Amy Coney Barrett

Only one Republican voted no on the confirmation

The U.S. Senate voted Monday night to confirm the nomination of right-wing federal appeals judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. The vote was 52 to 48, with only one Republican voting against confirmation.

Amy Coney Barrett will be a tie breaker on the court

Barrett was sworn in at the White House Monday night. Her confirmation to the court is expected to have dramatic impact immediately, including in ongoing disputes over the presidential election. Since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death the court has been equally divided on several disputes. The Supreme Court has voted 4 to 4 on several emergency requests to curb the use of mail-in ballots, with the tie votes leaving in place state court decisions that protect such ballots.

Cases from North Carolina and Pennsylvania on mail-in ballots are pending before the court. Justice Barrett could cast the decisive vote in the cases.

On November 4, she will participate in oral arguments in a case, Fulton v. Philadelphia, that will review a lower court decision that held a Catholic foster care agency could not discriminate against same-sex couples. The conflict is a long-standing one and has implications beyond church-run organizations and foster care to commercial businesses.

November 11, the Supreme Court will take up a case challenging the Affordable Care Act. And there are cases on the court’s docket that Barrett could provide a vote to accept conservative definitions of the law. Two involve the definition of “religion” in employment disputes and whether Title VII protections apply to the military.

The National LGBT Bar Association issued a statement Monday night, saying, “Judge Barrett’s record and words have shown that she will be a threat for LGBTQ+ rights, marriage equality, and health care on the Supreme Court.”

Lambda Legal called the vote “a dark day for our justice system and American democracy.”

“Amy Coney Barrett deeply alarmed us during her confirmation hearings when she refused to say whether she believed cases that are the backbone of the legal rights of LGBTQ people—such as Lambda Legal’s landmark case, Lawrence v. Texas, which decriminalized same-sex intimacy, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage—were correctly decided. We fear that all the progress we have made in recent years is now at risk,” said Lambda.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine was the lone Republican vote against Barrett

One of the Senate’s independent members, Angus King of Maine, gave a floor speech suggesting strongly that, once the Democrats take the majority, Republicans should expect they, too, will break rules around the nomination and confirmation of justices.

U.S. Senator Susan Collins of Maine was the lone Republican vote against Barrett, even though Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska had vowed last month not to vote to confirm. Collins’ re-election this year has been in jeopardy since she strongly supported the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.

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