Justice Amy Coney Barrett Gives Speech After Being Sworn In

(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas on Monday night after being confirmed 52-48 by the Senate earlier that day. In a speech afterwards, Barrett said “I love the Constitution and the democratic republic that it establishes, and I will devote myself to preserving it.”

“Thank you. Thank you so very much. Thank you all for being here tonight, and thank you, President Trump, for selecting me to serve as an Associate Justice at the United States Supreme Court.” Barrett began. “It’s a privilege to be asked to serve my country in this office. I stand here tonight truly honored and humbled. Thanks also to the Senate for giving its consent to my appointment. I am grateful for the confidence you have expressed in me and I pledge to you and the American people that I will discharge my duties to the very best of my ability.”

“This was a vigorous confirmation process, and I thank all of you; especially Leader McConnell and Chairman Graham for helping to navigate it.” She continued. “My heartfelt thanks go out to the members of the White House Staff and Department of Justice, who worked tirelessly to help to support me through this process. Your stamina has been remarkable and I have been the beneficiary of it. Jesse and I are also so grateful to the many people who have supported our family over these last several weeks. Through ways both tangible and intangible, you have made this day possible. Jesse and I have been truly awestruck by your generosity.”

“I have spent a good amount of time over the last month at the Senate; both in meetings with individual senators and in days of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.” Barrett continued. “The confirmation process has made ever-clearer to me one of the fundamental differences between the federal judiciary and the United States Senate, and perhaps the most acute is the role of policy preferences. It is the job of a senator to pursue her policy preferences; in fact, it would be a dereliction of duty 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 duty for her to give in to them.” Barrett continued. “Federal judges don’t stand for election, thus they have no basis for claiming that their preferences reflect those of the people. This separation of duty from political preference is what makes the judiciary distinct among the three branches of government. A judge declares independence not only from Congress and the president, but also from the private beliefs that might otherwise move her. The judicial oath captures the essence of the judicial duty; the rule of law must always control.”

“My fellow Americans, even though we judges don’t face elections, we still work for you.” Barrett concluded. “It is your Constitution that establishes the rule of law and the judicial independence that is so central to it., The oath that I have solemnly taken tonight means at its core that I will do my job without any fear or favor and that I will do so independent of both the political branches and my own preferences. I love the Constitution and the democratic republic that it establishes, and I will devote myself to preserving it. Thank you.”