Amy Coney Barrett and the Election

Virgil Lin, Voices

Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the United States Supreme Court on Oct. 26, officially cementing conservative control over the federal government during election season. 

Ignoring past precedent, Senate Republicans expedited her nomination process to the Supreme Court, culminating in a party-line confirmation vote of 52-48 cementing Republican control of the Senate, presidency, and now, Supreme Court. 

Given votes still being challenged by President Trump, and contrasted against the past normalcy of Election Day win-lose declarations, Justice Barrett is in a unique position to preside over election results. 

Looking at an early morning Nov. 4 electoral map, former Vice President Joe Biden pulled ahead in several battleground states by razor-thin margins, most notably in Wisconsin and Michigan. 

President Trump and his conservative allies in government indicated they are going to take advantage of such a tight race, scrutinizing the legitimacy of the election in line with his false, but persistent, claims of election fraud. 

“This is a major fraud on our nation,” President Trump said during a post-Election Day speech. “We want the law to be used in a proper manner, so well be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4’oclock in the morning and add them to the list.” 

Barrett tipping the scales to make a 6-3 majority-conservative Supreme Court is thus open to rule on perceived election fraud and whether to invalidate either mail-in ballots or ballots counted after Nov. 3. The conservative majority faces no conventional means of resistance from their liberal counterparts.

However, Barrett has initially shown restraint from participating in the Supreme Court, having recused herself from a recent ruling which upheld a ballot receiving extension in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, both key battleground states where mail-in voting benefits Biden. 

That suggests Barrett will abstain from election-related cases in the present. Republicans, instead, may rely on her to contest election results after they have been tabulated, officially reported, and a winner declared.  

In the meantime, Democrats focus their attention on winning the presidency, flipping the Senate, and holding onto their lead in the House. As of the morning of November 4, Biden’s ticket holds 248 electoral votes against President Trump’s 214.