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US Senate votes to confirm Supreme Court pick Amy Coney Barrett


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WASHINGTON (REUTERS, AFP)- Enough Republican US senators voted on Monday (Oct 26) to confirm President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Ms Amy Coney Barrett, with the White House planning a celebratory event afterward.

The deeply divided chamber voted 52 to 48, largely along party lines in the Republican-controlled Senate, making Ms Barrett the third Trump nominee to reach the high court and cementing a six-to-three conservative majority.

Republican lawmakers broke into applause as the tally was read out.

The ceremony planned at the White House comes a month after a similar event was linked to a Covid-19 outbreak that preceded Trump’s own infection.

At the ceremony, conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will administer one of the two oaths of office that justices have to take, according to a White House official.

Justices also take a separate judicial oath, usually at the court itself. The court has not yet announced details.

Mr Trump pressed the Senate to confirm Ms Barrett before the Nov 3 election, which would create a 6-3 conservative majority on the top US judicial body.

Senate Minority Chuck Schumer said the Republican majority was “lighting its credibility on fire” by proceeding with the vote so close to the election after blocking Democratic President Barack Obama’s election-year nominee in 2016.

“The truth is this nomination is part of a decades-long effort to tilt the judiciary to the far right,” he added.

Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defended Barrett’s nomination.

“We don’t have any doubt, do we, that if the shoe was on the other foot, they’d be confirming,” McConnell said.

“You can’t win them all, and elections have consequences.”

Barrett, a federal appeals court judge, is Trump’s third selection for the court, enabling him to remake it in dramatic fashion as part of his success in moving the broader federal judiciary to the right since taking office in 2017.