Justice Barrett, 48, who has seven children, will be the current court’s youngest member, its third woman, its sixth Catholic and its only jurist from outside the Ivy League. A graduate of Notre Dame Law School, where she later taught, she has served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit since Mr. Trump appointed her in 2017 and has become a favorite of conservatives. Her appointment to the Supreme Court was Mr. Trump’s third, the most any president has had in a single term since Richard M. Nixon and an important credential for Republican voters who care about the judiciary.
In her own remarks on Monday, Justice Barrett, whose short-sleeve black dress contrasted with the president’s heavy, black overcoat on a crisp, 55-degree evening, referred to the speedy Senate approval as “a rigorous confirmation process,” a characterization Democrats strenuously disputed.
But she seemed intent on sending the message that she would not simply do Mr. Trump’s bidding, using the words “independent” or “independence” three times, even though he has said explicitly that he wanted her seated before the election so she could lend her vote in case of a legal dispute over the balloting.
“A judge declares independence not only from the Congress and the president but also from the private beliefs that might otherwise move her,” Justice Barrett said after being sworn in. “The oath I have solemnly taken tonight,” she added, “means at its core that I will do my job without any fear or favor and that I will do so independently of both the political branches and of my own preferences.”
Oct. 26, 2020, 11:20 p.m. ET
Neither Democrats nor Republicans seemed to believe that, instead commending or condemning her confirmation as a victory for conservatives and a defeat for liberals. Her replacement of Justice Ginsburg means that the conservative wing now controls the Supreme Court 6 to 3, heralding a new era of jurisprudence not only on the forthcoming election, but on hot-button issues like abortion, gay rights and health care.
The House Judiciary Committee Republicans, led by Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, one of Mr. Trump’s most outspoken allies, taunted Hillary Clinton, who lost to Mr. Trump in 2016, after the Senate’s evening vote.