Amy Coney Barrett has been confirmed as a Supreme Court justice after Republicans overpowered Democratic opposition 52-48 in the US Senate.
The confirmation was hardly in doubt as Republicans seized the opportunity to install a third justice nominated by Donald Trump, securing a conservative majority in the country’s highest court for years to come.
With no real power to stop the vote, Democrats had argued into the night on Sunday that the winner of the 3 November presidential election should choose the nominee to fill the vacancy left following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
But the Senate voted 51-48 to it being the process of a vote with a final 30 hours of debate.
Ms Barrett’s confirmation opens up potential new rulings on abortion, gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act as the court now has a solid 6-3 conservative majority.
The 48-year-old is expected to participate in a crucial hearing on 10 November, when Republicans will ask the court to strike down the Affordable Care Act.
The act, popularly known as Obamacare, has helped millions of Americans obtain medical insurance and protected those with pre-existing conditions.
It is the first confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee so close to a presidential election, with more than 58 million ballots already cast.
It is also one of the first high court nominees in recent memory that received no support from the minority party in the Senate. Previously, president’s picks often won wide support.
Mr Trump has repeatedly said he wanted Ms Barrett in place to vote on any election-related cases that could end up in the Supreme Court.
Ms Barrett has been a federal appeals court judge since 2017 and was previously a legal scholar at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.
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