Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court on Monday night by a narrow party-line vote in the Senate — and perhaps no one voiced dismay about that like Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono.
"Hell no," Hirono said from the Senate floor, walking up to the table where votes were being counted. She gave hers with a dramatic thumbs down.
Nonetheless, the Senate's Republican majority — who had hailed Barrett's credentials and conservative judicial point-of-view even as Democrats called them hypocrites — approved her nomination to the high court by a 52-48 vote.
One Republican voted no: Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who is in a closely fought bid for re-election.
No Democratic lawmakers voted in support of Barrett, a 48-year-old federal appeals judge, whom they said had been rushed to confirmation to the Supreme Court just days before the Nov. 3 election that polls show Republicans are in danger of losing.
President Donald Trump nominated Barrett in September after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was the anchor of the court's liberal wing. Bader filling Ginsburg's seat cements the court's Republican-appointed majority at six-to-three.
“This is something to really be proud of and feel good about,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week. “We made an important contribution to the future of this country. A lot of what we have done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. It won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”
Hirono, 72, has said Barrett's appointment poses a threat to "LGBTQ rights, voting rights, women’s equality, health care" and other issues.
The Hawaii lawmaker pressed Barrett during the latter's confirmation hearings — chiding Barrett when she referred in one of her answers to sexual orientation as a "preference," which is considered an offensive and outdated term.
In her opening statement during her confirmation hearings, Barrett said she "believe[s] deeply in the rule of law and the place of the Supreme Court in our nation. I believe Americans of all backgrounds deserve an independent Supreme Court that interprets our Constitution and laws as they are written."
"I have no mission and no agenda," she said. "Judges don't have campaign promises."
Democratic lawmakers like Hirono, however, have warned Barrett's nomination could change American law and society for decades to come. Barrett's critics cite her personal stances against abortion and her work as a trustee with Christian schools that did not welcome LGBTQ students or teachers.
She has also criticized the court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, which the Trump administration is trying to invalidate.
Democrats assailed their Republican colleagues' "hypocrisy" after the GOP-led Senate blocked President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland from even receiving a vote in 2016 because conservatives argued that it was too close to the election and voters should have a say.
Garland's nomination came 237 days before that presidential election. Barrett's approval Monday night was eight days before this one.
“The American people will never forget this blatant act of bad faith," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told Republicans on Monday. "They will never forget your complete disregard for their voices, for the people standing in line right now voting their choice, not your choice."
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