By a vote of 52 to 48, the Republican-controlled US Senate approved US President Donald Trump’s appointment of the 48-year-old Barrett, a federal appeals court judge from Indiana, to become the newest US Supreme Court justice in place of the former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsberg.
Barrett’s appointment, just over a week before the US presidential election on November 3, was strongly opposed by Democrats, who argued in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) own words from 2016 that “the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
“This is something to be really proud of and feel good about,” McConnell said, scoffing at fears of a growing politicization of the judicial branch that “they won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”
With just 53 seats in the 100-person Senate, Republicans would have struggled to push through Barrett’s confirmation without winning over several of their Democratic colleagues if McConnell had not engineered a rule change in April 2017 that made passing nominees require a simple 50-person majority instead of the 60-person majority previously mandated.