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Monday, April 12, 2021

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Amy Coney Barrett confirmed as new supreme court justice

<p>The tower at Boatwright Memorial Library gazes across campus.</p>

The tower at Boatwright Memorial Library gazes across campus.

Eight days before the 2020 presidential election, the Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett, a former appeals court judge, to the U.S. Supreme Court with a final vote of 52 to 48on Oct. 26 according to The Associated Press News.

Barrett, President Donald Trump's nominee, replaced the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Clarence Thomas administered the constitutional oath to Barrett on the evening of Oct. 26 NPR reported, following the release of the results of the Senate vote.

Rob Papandrea, senior and the president of the UR College Republicans, said his immediate reaction to Barrett’s confirmation was a sense of accomplishment.

“It has long been a goal of the Republican party to be able to establish a firm majority on the court,” Papandrea said. “I am proud of Republicans on the Hill for choosing a nominee that is both well qualified and represents the future of conservatism as a movement for all people.”

Chapter president of UR College Democrats Valentina Zuluaga said she was disappointed with Barrett's confirmation and believed Barrett was highly unqualified for the position.

"By all accounts, I don't think that the nomination was fair," Zuluaga said. "[Barrett] is very young, so she will likely be appointed for a very long time. She has said on record that she is unable to remove her religious faith from her rulings, so I think that there will be a large infringement of her religious views onto her rulings."

Barrett's confirmation marks the first time in 151 years that a new supreme court justice has been confirmed without the support of a single member of the minority party, according to the New York Times. Only one member of the Republican party, Susan Collins of Maine, voted against Barrett’s confirmation, the Times reported.

Barrett, who identifies as a member of the Republican Party, will "solidify the Supreme Court’s rightward" tilt as the U.S.’s 115th justice, according to AP News.

Although the future effects of Barrett’s confirmation remain unknown, Papandrea and Zuluaga have mixed feelings as to what the future holds for the United States now that the Supreme Court tilts right.

Papandrea has worked for three judges and said that drawing from experience, he believed that no major changes to previous Supreme Court rulings would come from Barrett joining. 

“I have found that regardless of persuasion, judges dislike their decisions being overturned more than anything and, as such, tend to uphold precedent,” Papandrea said.

Barrett was able to begin her official work as a Supreme Court Justice on Nov. 2, AP News reported. She participated in two hearings, which took place over the phone because of COVID-19 court policies that have been in place since May, according to AP News.

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Contact news writer Liv Ronca at liv.ronca@richmond.edu.

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