On Monday, less than two hours after her confirmation by the Senate and a little over a month after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as a member of the Supreme Court in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.
President Trump, coming off of a trifecta of rallies in Pennsylvania earlier in the day, read his speech from the teleprompter without much verve, praising the “sterling character” of his nominee and claiming that the “cause of freedom” for which men “jumped out of airplanes and shed their blood” was being celebrated that night.
Exactly a month ago, the Trump administration was celebrating the cause of Amy Coney Barrett and a conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court in a different manner — by spreading the coronavirus among some of its most important figures, including the president. And while reporters in the White House observed more masks and more social distancing than during the apparent superspreader event held in the Rose Garden on September 26, Trump, Barrett, and the 72-year-old Justice Clarence Thomas (who swore in the newest SCOTUS member) did not wear masks.
In her brief address after the swearing-in, Barrett — who served less than three years as a judge before being nominated to the high court — said she was “grateful for the confidence [Trump has] expressed in me.” Barrett described the shortest nomination-to-confirmation pipeline in almost 40 years as a “rigorous confirmation process,” although one of the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee admitted they couldn’t “stop the outcome” and another praised the ranking Republican for “one of the best set of hearings” she had ever participated in.
At the end of the evening of dull pageantry, Barrett, her husband, President Trump, and the First Lady — who was still experiencing a “lingering cough” from her COVID case last week — posed for pictures on the same balcony in which the president staged a maskless photo shoot three weeks ago after leaving the hospital.