Washington: In what can be described as a major victory for President Donald Trump, the US Senate on Tuesday confirmed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, just a week before the general election.
The senators by and large voted strictly along party lines and voted 52-48 to approve Judge Barrett, overcoming the unified opposition of Democrats.
Only one Republican, Senator Susan Collins, who faces a tough re-election battle in Maine, voted against the president’s nominee in Monday evening’s vote.
Judge Barrett took the oath of office at the White House alongside President Trump, which was administered to her by fellow conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Her appointment seals for the foreseeable future a 6-3 conservative majority on the top US judicial body.
Judge Barrett is the third judge to be appointed by President Trump, after Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.
Barrett fills the vacancy left by the iconic liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died last month.
Political analysts believe Justice Barrett’s appointment could cast a decisive vote in a number of looming cases, including a Trump-backed challenge to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Some of her previous rulings like on Obamacare has alarmed advocates of the healthcare programme, while her past writings on abortion have unnerved the liberals with speculations that the 1973 Supreme Court decision which legalised abortion in the US could be overuled.
The US Supreme Court will also be deciding on the deadlines for accepting postal ballots in the critical presidential election states of North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected a request to allow postal ballots received beyond election day in Wisconsin, another important swing state, through which the road to the White House could lie.