Exactly a month after Trump’s nomination, Amy Coney Barrett has been confirmed as Supreme Court Justice, giving the court a 6-3 conservative majority.
After barreling through the official proceedings—which included a rare late-night session on Sunday to debate her confirmation—the Senate voted 52-48 in her favor. The vote was split almost exactly along party lines: Though Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski had initially stated that she would not support Trump’s Supreme Court appointee (on the grounds that Republicans shouldn’t fill a vacancy on the court so close to a presidential election), she reneged just days before the vote, saying she would cast a vote for Coney Barrett after all. Maine Senator Susan Collins was the only Republican to vote no.
And on the other side of the aisle, the last hold out, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a centrist Democrat from Arizona, announced on Sunday that she would join the rest of her party in unanimously opposing the confirmation.
This was not the contentious Supreme Court battle many of us expected in September. Believing they had few tools at their disposal with which to fight Barrett’s confirmation, Democrats opted to more or less clear the way for Republicans’ cynical charade. They showed up to the hearings; they asked Barrett tough but, for the most part, routine questions, which she easily skirted; they did not force any additional procedural votes.
Ahead of the final vote Monday night Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged his colleagues to cast their votes and go—don’t linger. (Especially since multiple members of Mike Pence’s White House staff recently tested positive for covid.)
I understand the impulse to try to make things quick and painless. For weeks now, I’ve been trying to conserve my energy, my outrage, for what may lie ahead. And I’ve been trying to orient myself toward hopefulness, a feeling that’s been easier to nurture—despite my frequent disenchantment with electoral politics—as millions of people turn out to vote.
But tonight is deflating. Barrett’s confirmation foretells the end of federal abortion rights, the Affordable Care Act, and the gutting of a litany of other civil rights that are already under attack. At just 48 years old, she’ll serve on the court for decades to come, outlasting both Trump and Biden, should he win the White House next week.
It’s hard not to feel that whatever happens on Election Day, Trump has already won.