WASHINGTON – Newly confirmed U.S. Supreme Court judge Amy Coney Barrett faces a host of high-profile political charges in her early days at work, as the court weighs in on election disputes and prepares to hear a challenge to Obamacare’s health law.
The Republican-led Senate on Monday reaffirmed its assertion of opposition to the Democratic Alliance’s recent nomination for the November national election. President Donald Trump, who nominated Barrett, said he expected the court to rule on the outcome of the election where he was challenged by Democrat Joe Biden.
Barrett, 48, was officially sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts for a lifetime of work in a private ceremony in court on Tuesday morning. Barrett joins the court with two election issues already pending against him from rival battlefields in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
The court is expected to take both steps before election day with Barrett, a former appellate court judge and legal expert, as part of their growing 6-3 majority. No Supreme Court justice has ever been guaranteed so close to the presidential election.
“I can’t imagine any other situation like this,” said Rick Hasen, an electoral law specialist at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. “This can be baptized with fire.”
One week after the election, the court on November 10 is due to hear a case in which Republicans including Trump asked the court to pass the Affordable Care Act of 2010, better known as Obamacare.
During Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearing two weeks ago, Democrats focused on both Obamacare and electoral cases in protest of his assertion. They pleaded not guilty to both charges. Barrett declined such a commitment. Judges have a final say as to whether they acquit themselves.
At a White House ceremony on Monday night when Supreme Court Justice Justice Clarence Thomas granted him one of two pledges that officials should take action, Barrett pledged his political independence.
Political pressure has put Barrett in a difficult position and he can step in carefully, said Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
I don’t think he wants his first major decision to question his freedom, “Levinson added.
VOTING CONFLICTS WITH OBAMACARE
Trump has said he wants Barrett to be confirmed before election day so he can vote firmly in any election-related dispute, which is likely to win him over.
The Supreme Court has ruled once and for all the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.
Judges have faced a number of urgent requests related to elections this year, some related to legal changes caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
On Monday night, long-serving judges were in large numbers as the court voted 5-3 and refused to extend the voting dates demanded by Democrats in Wisconsin.
Last week, as an indication of how Barrett’s appointment could affect such cases, the court separated 4-4 in a case from Pennsylvania, transferring losses to Republicans hoping to prevent the counting of ballot papers sent out after election day.
Republicans on Friday asked the court to block the Pennsylvania post count, knowing that Barrett would soon be confirmed.
The majority of the preservative court even before Barrett’s appointment is often accompanied by state officials who oppose the court’s changes in electoral processes to make it easier to vote during the crisis.
THE CHALLENGE OF OBAMACARE
The Obamacare case is the third-largest challenge supported by the Republic of Law, which has helped nearly 20 million Americans access medical insurance. It also prevents insurers from refusing to cover people with existing health conditions.
Opponents of the Republic have called for the government’s unnecessary intervention in health insurance markets.
The Supreme Court upheld Obamacare 5-4 in 2012 and dismissed another challenge 6-3 in 2015.
Barrett had earlier criticized the two decisions. Democrats opposed to his appointment have insisted they may vote to beat Obamacare, although legal experts think the court may not do so.
The court heard another high court case on November 4 concerning the broader liberation of religious rights in certain organizational rules. The controversy stemmed from Philadelphia’s decision to bar a local Roman Catholic company from participating in foster care because the organization barred same-sex couples from working as foster parents.
The court began its current term on October 5 summarized after the death of Barrett’s predecessor, Freedom Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. If the court is divided 4-4 on any of the disputed cases prior to Barrett’s appointment, it may hold a second round of oral arguments so that Barrett can participate.