The Supreme Court said in a press release that Barrett will be able to start her new role after Chief Justice John Roberts administers her Judicial Oath on Tuesday. Justice Clarence Thomas administered the Constitutional Oath at Monday’s ceremony.
Thomas has long been considered one of the more conservative justices on the Court, along with Barrett’s mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Echoing her mentor, Barrett underscored the need for a separation of powers between the judicial and legislative branches.
“It is the job of a senator to pursue her policy preferences,” Barrett said to an audience on the South Lawn of the White House. “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. Federal judges don’t stand for election. Thus, they have no basis for claiming that their preferences reflect those of the people.”
“This separation of duty from political preference is what makes the judiciary distinct among the three branches of government. A judge declares independence not only from Congress and the president, but also from the private beliefs that might otherwise move her,” she added.
“The judicial oath captures the essence of the judicial duty. The rule of law must always control. My fellow Americans, even though we judges don’t face elections, we still work for you. 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.”
The Senate confirmed Barrett along a 52-48 vote, with all 45 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the Democrats opposing her confirmation.
Controversial from the start, her confirmation process prompted a wave of backlash on Monday. Almost immediately after the Senate voted, Democratic lawmakers panned the decision while some called demanded leaders “expand the court.”
Barrett’s confirmation solidified a conservative majority on the nation’s highest court, and gave Trump another victory as he headed into election day.
Whoever wins on Nov. 3 will likely have major consequences on the Supreme Court as an American institution. Former Vice President Joe Biden has mostly refused to answer questions about whether he would pack the courts.
On Monday that he might be open to shifting Supreme Court justices to lower courts if elected president, noting that he hadn’t made any “judgement” yet on the issue.
“There is some literature among constitutional scholars about the possibility of going from one court to another court, not just always staying the whole time in the Supreme Court but I have made no judgement,” Biden said at a campaign stop in Chester, Pennsylvania.
He went on to say that “there are just a group of serious constitutional scholars, have a number of ideas how we should proceed from this point on.”
“That’s what we’re going to be doing. We’re going to give them 180 days God-willing if I’m elected, from the time I’m sworn in to be able to make such a recommendation.”
During an interview with “60 Minutes,” Biden said he would set up a commission that would make recommendations for reforming the court system.
“I will ask them to, over 180 days, come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system because it’s getting out of whack,” he said.