Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as the 115th justice on the Supreme Court at a White House ceremony Monday evening, capping a weeks-long partisan fight over her nomination.
President Trump looked on as Justice Clarence Thomas administered the official constitutional oath to Barrett before a crowd on the South Lawn of the White House, roughly an hour after the GOP-controlled Senate confirmed Trump’s third nominee to the high court in a largely party-line vote.
“This is a momentous day for America, for the United States Constitution, and for the fair and impartial rule of law,” Trump, who had just returned from campaigning in Pennsylvania, said in prepared remarks before Thomas administered the oath. “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.”
Barrett spoke following the oath, thanking Trump and Senate leaders and emphasizing the need for judges to put aside their personal policy views.
“It is the job of a senator to pursue her policy preferences. 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,” Barrett said.
“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,” she continued.
A few hundred individuals, including senators and White House officials, were present for the event. Attendees were required to wear masks and sat in folding chairs distanced from one another to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which has this month infected several individuals in the White House, including the president and first lady.
Barrett will quickly begin work on high-profile cases. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Nov. 10 in the Trump administration’s effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Democrats used their time during her confirmation hearings to describe the Obama administration’s signature health care law as endangered by her nomination.