President Donald Trump hosted an event for Amy Coney Barrett on Monday night at the White House, where she was sworn as an associate justice to the Supreme Court.
Justice Barrett, 48, became the fifth woman appointed to the high court and the first to be a mother of school-aged children.
The Senate confirmed Barrett earlier in the evening in a 52-48 vote.
Justice Clarence Thomas administered the constitutional oath, officially swearing Barrett in as the 103rd associate justice in Supreme Court history.
Thomas is currently the longest-serving justice on the court, having been appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1991.
Barrett, who clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the 1990s, shares both his and Thomas’ originalist/textualist judicial philosophy in interpreting the Constitution and statutes.
Barrett thanked the president for the honor of the appointment and promised fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law.
“My fellow Americans, even though we judges don’t face elections, we still work for you,” Barrett said. “It is your Constitution that establishes the rule of law, and the judicial independence that is so central to it.
“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.
“I love the Constitution and the democratic republic that it establishes, and I will devote myself to preserving it.”
LIVE: President Trump participates in the swearing-in ceremony of the Honorable Amy Coney Barrett https://t.co/nGav1ldptD
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 27, 2020
Asked by a reporter earlier in the day whether the Barrett event would be large, Trump replied it would not.
“Just a very nice event,” he said.
The subtext of the question was clearly in reference to the White House event last month when Trump announced his nomination of Barrett, which Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden characterized on Monday as a super-spreader event for COVID, according to Politico.
The Washington Post reported of the approximately 200 who attended Barrett’s Rose Garden nomination announcement on Sept. 26, at least 11 later tested positive for COVID-19.
The occasion included both the outdoor Rose Garden event and an indoor reception for some of the attendees.
Vice President Mike Pence, Karen Pence and Attorney General William Barr were among some of the prominent attendees who did not contract the virus.
Barrett’s addition to the court replacing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shifts its composition to six justices appointed by Republican presidents and three by Democrats.
Biden continues to duck the question of whether he would add additional justices to the Supreme Court if he were elected president.
However, he did tell reporters on Monday he would establish a commission of constitutional scholars to provide him recommendations about how to potentially restructure the court.
Biden said he would give the scholars a deadline of 180 days after he takes office to get the proposals to him.
According to the Heritage Foundation’s Judicial Tracker, Trump has appointed 218 judges to date, which is the most of any president going back to Ronald Reagan at the same point of their time in office.
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