The U.S Senate will vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court Monday evening. This isn't an off the cuff Nostradamus-like prophecy. With a 53-47 Republican majority in the Senate her confirmation is a mathematical certainty.
The confirmation will be the first of a Supreme Court nominee so close to a presidential election. It’s also one of the first high court nominees in recent memory receiving no support from the minority party, a pivot from not long ago when a president’s picks often won wide bipartisan support.
Susan Collins, who faces a tight reelection fight in Maine, is the only Republican senator expected to vote against Trump’s nominee.
So... what comes next?
For starters the 48-year-old appellate judge’s confirmation will secure a conservative court majority for the foreseeable future. But more immediately it could open a new era of rulings on abortion, gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act.
Also looming is the near certainty that fallout from the upcoming presidential election will ultimately land in the lap of the Supreme Court. In fact Trump has said the November 3 election was one of the reasons he was seeking a swift Senate confirmation of Barrett.
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"I think this will end up at the Supreme Court," Trump said about the possibility of an intractable ballot controversy. "And I think it's very important that we have nine justices."
During her confirmation hearings Barrett was pressed by several Democrats on whether she would recuse herself from those proceedings. She declined to give a response.
In an exchange with Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, Barrett said: "I commit to you to fully and faithfully applying the law of recusal. And part of the law is to consider any appearance questions. And I will apply the factors that other justices have before me in determining whether the circumstances require my recusal or not. But I can't offer a legal conclusion right now about the outcome of the decision I would reach."
Lastly one of the looming questions hanging over the past several weeks has been how the Democrats would retaliate should Joe Biden take the White House and if they recapture a majority in the Senate. Despite being pressed for an answer on several occasions, Biden has refused to say if he would consider "stacking" the court by increasing the number of Supreme Court Justices. The number of Justices on the Supreme Court changed six times before settling at the present total of nine in 1869.
Earlier this week Biden would only go as far as saying he would form a bipartisan commission to examine the idea of expanding the court.
And then there are the cases. Here's a quick snapshot of some of the potentially landmark cases on the current docket for the Supreme Court.
On Nov. 10, the court will hear Texas v. California, which will determine whether the Affordable Care Act should be struck down or upheld.
The court will hear a case if police can enter a suspect’s home without a warrant in response to a suspect allegedly committing a misdemeanor. There's also the case of Brownback v. King, which was brought by a man who was beat by undercover FBI agents and sent to jail after being mistaken for a criminal suspect.
The court announced it would hear a case determining the legality of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which mandates asylum seekers wait in Mexico until their case is heard before a court.
Border Wall Funding
The court will hear a case regarding whether the Trump administration can legally divert Department of Defense funds to the president’s border wall without congressional authorization.