Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas late Monday night and conservatives the nation-over breathed a collective sigh of relief.
The hard-fought battle for the court was one that conservatives considered crucial, and liberals will continue to fight through their pursuit of court-packing. However, after she raised her hand and promised to uphold the constitution, she made another promise to the American people:
“I will do my job without any fear or favor,” Barrett said on Monday evening. “I love the Constitution and the democratic republic that it establishes, and I will devote myself to preserving it.”
After thanking the attendees and the president, for selecting her for the nation’s high court, she spoke to the privilege and honor it was to be selected for a position held by only 114 other people in the nation’s history. “I stand here tonight truly honored and humbled,” Barrett said.
“Thanks also to the Senate for giving its consent to my appointment. I am grateful for the confidence you have expressed in me and I pledge to you and the American people that I will discharge my duties to the very best of my ability,” the high court’s newest judge went on, thanking the Senate and its leaders on her behalf as well as her husband, Jesse’s.
Then the mother of seven got down to brass tacks, talking about what she had promised the senators who confirmed her to office:
“I have spent a good amount of time over the last month at the Senate; both in meetings with individual senators and in days of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The confirmation process has made ever-clearer to me one of the fundamental differences between the federal judiciary and the United States Senate, and perhaps the most acute is the role of policy preferences. It is the job of a senator to pursue her policy preferences; in fact, it would be a dereliction of duty 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 in to 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. The judicial oath captures the essence of the judicial duty; the rule of law must always control.”
Barrett’s powerful address went on to remind her “fellow Americans,” that her job is to “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 independent of both the political branches and my own preferences. I love the Constitution and the democratic republic that it establishes, and I will devote myself to preserving it.”
Barrett’s nomination was a controversial one, due in large part to the balance of the court, but also to the late Justice Ruth Badder Ginsburg’s politics herself. During his comments on Barrett’s confirmation, Trump addressed that very thing, saying that it is highly fitting that Justice Barrett fills the seat of a true pioneer for women: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”
The president also went out of his way to note that Barrett is the first Justice to ever serve on the high court as a mother with school-age children, going on to say that “Justice Barrett made clear she will issue rulings based solely upon a faithful reading of the law and the Constitution as written, not legislate from the bench.”