Following the Senate’s confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the White House hosted a ceremony where Justice Clarence Thomas administered the official constitutional oath to Barrett.
Supreme Court justices are required to take two oaths before they may execute the duties of their appointed office: the constitutional oath and the judicial oath.
Barrett will take the judicial oath on Tuesday in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court. Following that oath, she will officially become an active participant in court proceedings.
After taking the constitutional oath, Barrett used her brief remarks at the White House ceremony tonight to speak about the need for a federal judge to case aside her policy preferences in her decision-making.
“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,” Barrett said. “It is the job of a senator to pursue her policy preferences. In fact, it would be a dereliction of 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 duty for her to give into them. 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.”
As Barrett gets ready to join the court just one week before the election — and Democrats fear she’ll intervene in any disputes arising from the vote — Barrett added, “A judge declares independence not only from Congress and the president but also from the private beliefs that might otherwise move her.”
“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 independently of both the political branches and of my own preferences,” said said.