State politicos speak out on Barrett’s confirmation

Published 2:36 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The U.S. Senate confirmed U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, to the U.S. Supreme Court Monday night by a 52-48 margin largely along partisan lines, with only one Republican, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, voting against confirmation.

Barrett was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in November 2017 after having previously worked in academia and clerked for the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Alabama politicos began speaking out on the confirmation shortly after it was made official Monday night, with Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey praising the confirmation, as well as Trump’s selection of “arguably one of the most qualified picks during the last century.”

“I applaud the swift Senate confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States,” Ivey said in a statement released Monday night. “Amy Coney Barrett’s willingness to serve, despite a hostile political environment, is proof of her strong character and a testament to her commitment to upholding the laws of our country for future generations.”

Ivey also took aim at Democrats, who have floated the idea of “packing the court” in response to the new conservative majority, saying that such a move “is a clear attempt at a political power grab to load the bench with judicial activists, not arbiters of the law.”

Among those who voted in favor of Barrett’s confirmation was U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL, who took to the floor Tuesday to declare Barrett, who boasts just under three years of experience as a judge, to be “the most qualified Supreme Court nominee” he had encountered in his 34-year stint in Washington.

“As a country, we should seek to have judges who are thoughtful, fair-minded and respectful,” Shelby said during his remarks on the floor “Judge Barrett exemplifies all of these traits…I have the utmost confidence that she will serve the court and this country with honesty and integrity.”

Conversely, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-AL, voted against Barrett’s confirmation and, in a statement released Monday night, blasted Senate Republicans for charging ahead with a last-minute Supreme Court nomination rather than negotiating relief for the millions of Americans still suffering as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which is currently seeing a surge across the country.

“This process has been perhaps one of the most blatantly hypocritical in the history of the Senate and has further eroded trust in the independence of the Supreme Court in the eyes of the American people,” Jones said in the statement. “By forcing this vote only eight days before an election, [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell has prioritized temporary political gain over the long-term integrity of both institutions. I also believe his decision to force through this confirmation instead of negotiating a bipartisan COVID relief package is an insult to the millions of Americans who are suffering as a result of this pandemic.”

Though the House didn’t weigh in on Barrett’s nomination, lawmakers in the lower chamber spoke out, with U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, R-AL, celebrating the confirmation and U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL, chiding the decision as “tainted by…hypocrisy.”

“The confirmation of an eminently qualified, fair and constitutionalist justice should instill confidence in the American people,” Palmer said in a Monday statement.

“The Senate’s confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court is a decision that undermines the very legitimacy of our democratic process,” Sewell said in a Monday night statement. “This appointment is clearly tainted by Senate Republicans’ hypocrisy in promising not to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court so close to a presidential election…The denial of a voice to the American people is a travesty of justice — one that we know will bear massive consequences on our sacred right to vote and our healthcare during an unprecedented public health crisis.”