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Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in at a White House cer­emony on Monday | White House Flickr

The U.S. Senate con­firmed Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court Monday in a 52 – 48 vote,  making her the third Supreme Court Justice to be appointed by Pres­ident Donald Trump.

Nathan Schlueter, pro­fessor of phi­losophy and religion and Hillsdale’s pre-law advisor, said he was pleased with the civility of Barrett’s con­fir­mation process.

“This process was the healthiest political event we have had in recent memory,” Schlueter said. “Deprived of material for sala­cious per­sonal accu­sa­tions or identity pol­itics grand­standing, the process allowed for public debate on serious, sub­stantive issues. Justice Barrett is a refreshing reminder why good char­acter matters for politics.”

Senior pol­itics major Vic­toria Mar­shall, who is cur­rently interning in Wash­ington, D.C. as a part of the Wash­ington-Hillsdale Internship Program, said she was sur­prised by how smoothly the con­fir­mation process went.

Mar­shall visited the Supreme Court on the night that the late Asso­ciate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and noted that there were already pro­testers vehe­mently opposing any attempt to fill the open seat. Despite the con­tro­versy over the replacement of Ginsburg, Barrett’s con­fir­mation was rel­a­tively uneventful, she said.

“I am actually shocked that nothing big hap­pened, and I’m also shocked at how easy and how fast it was,” Mar­shall said. “The atmos­phere here in D.C. is very eerie. It def­i­nitely feels like the calm before the storm. I can only attribute no scandals to the fact that Barrett didn’t have any kind of liabilities.”

Pro­fessor of Pol­itics Mickey Craig pointed to the fallout after Senate Democrats’ poor treatment of Asso­ciate Justice Brett Kavanaugh two years ago as another pos­sible expla­nation for the civility of the confirmation.

“I think the reason Barrett was not attacked was in part because Democrats saw how what they did to Kavanaugh cost them winning the Senate in 2018,” Craig said. “Repub­licans, despite losing the House, actually picked up two seats in the Senate, and it was from Democrats who voted against Kavanaugh. At this point in the election, Democrats don’t want to offend women who look at Barrett and think what an amazing person she is.”

While Democrats may have shown restraint throughout Barrett’s con­fir­mation, Matthew Spalding, dean of the Van Andel Graduate School of Gov­ernment in Wash­ington, D.C., said he sus­pects they will retaliate and try to regain control of the federal judi­ciary if they can get control of the Senate and the presidency.

“I think the response on the left will be to try to cir­cumvent Trump’s appoint­ments,” Spalding said. “I think there will be an attempt to restructure the courts in some fun­da­mental way that perhaps packs or rearranges the Supreme Court.”

Spalding also noted that Barrett’s con­fir­mation, coming only eight days before the 2020 pres­i­dential election, will likely drive more voters to the polls.

“It reminded people how important judicial appoint­ments are,” Spalding said. “Recall that one of the chief things that probably got Pres­ident Trump elected were his promises on Supreme Court jus­tices, which he fol­lowed through on not once or twice, but three times.”

Imme­di­ately fol­lowing the con­fir­mation vote, Barrett was sworn in by Asso­ciate Justice Clarence Thomas. Barrett also gave a short speech in which she reit­erated her views on the role of judging and praised all the sen­ators that par­tic­i­pated in the con­fir­mation process.

“It is the job of a senator to pursue her policy pref­er­ences,” Barrett said. “In fact, it would be a dere­liction of her duty for her to put policy goals aside. By con­trast, it is the job of a judge to resist her policy pref­er­ences. It would be a dere­liction of her duty to give into them.”