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Amy Coney Barrett Senate vote: What to know about the Supreme Court confirmation, swearing-in process

With Democrats powerless to stop it, Senate Republicans voted to confirm President Trump’s pick for the next Supreme Court justice.

Amy Coney Barrett Senate vote: What to know about the Supreme Court confirmation, swearing-in process
[Photo: Tom Willians-Pool/Getty Images]
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Update Monday, 8:45 p.m. ET:

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As expected, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice this evening. The Senate voted 52-48 in favor of her confirmation, with Senator Susan Collins of Maine as the only Republican to vote no.

Original story:

Senate Republicans are set to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the next Supreme Court justice this afternoon—despite universal objections from Democrats, despite a divided public, and despite the fact that those same Republicans pretended to oppose election-year SCOTUS confirmations in 2016.

Here’s the latest update on Coney Barrett and what to expect from the confirmation process:

When is the vote?

A vote is expected in the Senate chamber this evening (Monday, October 26) at around 7:30 p.m. The White House then plans a swearing-in ceremony.

Can Democrats still stop or delay it?

Nope. Republicans appear to have the 51 votes they need. While some Republicans initially expressed minor misgivings about confirming a Supreme Court justice weeks before an election, Senator Susan Collins of Maine is the only Republican who is expected to actually vote against Coney Barrett’s confirmation. Vice President Mike Pence, who would cast the deciding vote in the event of a tie, may not even need to show up tonight.

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Can I watch the Senate proceedings?

There’s a live stream from the Senate floor, which you can access here.

Why is this such a big deal?

The confirmation of Coney Barrett, who will fill the seat left vacant by the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, will shift the balance of the court to a six-to-three conservative majority. That power shift has broad implications for high-stakes legal cases on topics ranging from the Affordable Care Act to abortion to workers’ rights. Supreme Court justices serve for life, so there’s no telling how long this lopsided court balance will last.

Where do Americans stand on this?

More Americans now support Coney Barrett’s confirmation than oppose it (51% to 46%), according to a Gallup Poll released last week. However, earlier polls have shown Americans strongly in favor of the next Supreme Court justice being decided by the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

What’s next?

That depends. If Joe Biden wins the election next week, he’s vowed to set up a bipartisan commission of constitutional experts to explore options for court reform, which could include issues such as court packing or term limits for justices.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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