MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota politicians from both sides of the aisle are reacting to Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court.
On Monday evening, Barrett was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 52 to 48, with only one Republican voting against her. She was sworn in shortly thereafter by Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas at the White House.
Following the confirmation, Minnesota GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan released a statement.
“The Republican Party of Minnesota congratulates Justice Amy Coney Barrett on her swift confirmation by the US Senate, despite the onslaught of personal and faith based attacks from Democrat Senators,” she said. “President Trump promised to fill the vacant US Supreme Court seat with a woman. In spite of the best efforts of Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar, he was able to make good on that promise. President Trump and the Senate fulfilled their constitutional obligations, we have a full court, and the country is better off for it.”
Republican Congressman Tom Emmer also reacted to the news, saying he’s “delighted to congratulate” Barrett on her confirmation.
“America now has another talented and thoughtful jurist that will uphold and defend the Constitution, just as her mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia, did. I thank President Trump and the Senate for this decisive action for the American people. As a parent, fellow Catholic, and member of the legal community, I admire Justice Barrett’s dedication to her faith, her family, and the law. I am glad she will bring those values to our highest Court,” he said.
The campaign for Republican Senate candidate Jason Lewis — who underwent emergency surgery Monday — also issued a statement, and took some shots at political rival Tina Smith, too.
“Tonight we celebrate the confirmation of Judge Barrett, a superb jurist who will interpret the Constitution as it is written and not what she wishes it to be, which is of particular importance when it comes to ensuring the Court does not go along with Constitutionally illiterate radicals like Senator Tina Smith who wants to severely restrict Minnesotans’ Second Amendment right to defend their families. Tina Smith voted no on Barrett because she likely won’t rule the way Tina Smith wishes she would. Smith seems to misunderstand the role of the Supreme Court—she believes it should make laws whereas Congressman Lewis believes judges must apply law as written by legislators. But, coming from somebody who won’t rule out packing the Court, it’s clear Tina Smith has no regard for the separation of powers or the judicial branch,” Lewis’ campaign wrote.
Smith also released a statement, saying the confirmation threatens the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade decision:
“Today I voted to oppose Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,” Smith said. “Judge Barrett was nominated to fulfill President Trump’s repeated promise to appoint Justices who would dismantle the Affordable Care Act and overturn Roe v. Wade, two things that the American people overwhelmingly oppose. I am dismayed that rather than work to pass legislation to help the American people in the face of a global pandemic and widespread economic hardship, Senate Republicans instead chose to ram through the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice to help advance a radical policy agenda that threatens the rights and freedoms of all Americans. As the only Senator to have worked at Planned Parenthood, I saw firsthand how hard it is to take control of your health and your life when you can’t afford or access quality care, or when you have the government looking over your shoulder, interfering with personal and intensely private decisions. And so I understand why many Americans are fearful about the future of their rights with Justice Barrett on the Supreme Court. I urge them to continue to make your voices heard, and to know that I will never stop fighting for Minnesotans, and all Americans, to have the freedom and opportunity to live the lives they want to lead.”
Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin echoed Smith’s warnings on the Affordable Care Act.
“Tonight’s Supreme Court confirmation vote was yet more proof that Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans will stop at nothing in order to fulfill his promise to ‘terminate’ the Affordable Care Act and protections for people with preexisting conditions. Even worse, they are pursuing this during a pandemic that has cost over 2,400 Minnesotans their lives and infected thousands more who now live with a preexisting condition after surviving COVID-19. Trump’s relentless attacks on our health care are simply unacceptable. We will hold him and his Republican enablers accountable at the ballot box from now until November 3,” Martin Said.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar also voted to oppose the nomination Monday evening.
On my dissenting no vote on Supreme Court nominee tonight:
Remember Justice Ginsburg’s dissents were never “cries of defeat.” They were her “blueprints for the future.”
This election is now our country’s blueprint for the future. #Vote
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) October 27, 2020
President Trump has been crystal clear. He said: “If I win the presidency, my judicial appointments will do the right thing — unlike Bush’s appointee John Roberts — on ObamaCare.”
Healthcare is on the line.
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) October 27, 2020
Immediately following Barrett’s confirmation, the White House held an event to celebrate, this time, with attendees spread out and mostly masked, unlike the event to celebrate her nomination. Justice Thomas administered the constitutional oath to Barrett, with President Trump standing in between Thomas and Barrett.
“I am grateful for the confidence you have expressed in me, and I pledge to you and to the American people that I will discharge my duties to the very best of my ability,” Barrett said after she was sworn in.
Barrett emphasized that she will be independent from the legislative and executive branches, as she made her confirmation speech from the White House grounds.
Republicans have praised Barrett’s qualifications and her judicial record, but Democrats have slammed Republicans for pushing Barrett’s confirmation so close to Election Day after Republicans blocked Merrick Garland’s nomination to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat in 2016. Republicans argued at the time that a Supreme Court nomination should not be considered in an election year, that voters should be able to weigh in by choosing their president. The newly elected president, they said, should select the justice.