‘Poetic justice’: Justice Thomas administers oath after Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to Supreme Court

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The U.S. Senate voted 52-48 to confirm Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the 115th Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court.

The Monday evening vote was followed by a late-night swearing-in ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. With a smiling President Donald Trump looking on, Justice Clarence Thomas administered the constitutional oath.

 

“This is a momentous day for America, for the United States Constitution, and for the fair and impartial rule of law,” Trump told those gathered. “She is one of our nation’s most brilliant legal scholars and she will make an outstanding justice on the highest court in our land.”

Considering the “high-tech lynching” Thomas experienced during his confirmation, which took place under the leadership of then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Joe Biden, his involvement Monday night served as a bit of “poetic justice,” as former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka explained.

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh received very similar treatment, and while Democrats were surprisingly less combative during Barrett hearings, Gorka included the hashtag #SweetRevenge.

An added bit of irony is that Barrett was confirmed and sworn in on Hillary Clinton’s birthday.

Barrett wore a short-sleeve black dress for the ceremony, with husband Jesse Barrett holding the Bible as she took the oath — Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the Judicial Oath in a private ceremony on Tuesday.

Justice Barrett has been clear that she will not legislate from the bench.

“Courts have a vital responsibility to the rule of law, which is critical to a free society, but courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life,” she said during her confirmation hearings.

In her brief remarks after taking the oath, Barrett reconfirmed that stance.

“It is the job of a senator to pursue her policy preferences,” she said. “In fact, it would be a dereliction of duty for her to put policy goals aside. By contrast, it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences. It would be a dereliction of duty for her to give into them.”

“The oath that I have solemnly taken tonight means at its core that I will do my job without any fear or favor, and that I will do so independently of both the political branches and of my own preferences,” Barrett continued.

The only Republican to join Democrats in opposing Barrett was Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Trump praised Barrett, the fifth woman to serve on the nation’s highest court and the first mother of school-age children, as a “fitting” replacement for the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“The Barrett family has captured America’s heart,” the president said. “It is highly fitting that Justice Barrett fills the seat of a true pioneer for women, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

Tom Tillison

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