The U.S. Senate voted 52-48 to put Judge Amy Coney Barrett onto the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, eight days before the next election, and cement a 6-3 conservative majority on the nation's highest court.
President Trump's third pick is likely to ripple through this year's elections and guide Democrats' actions, should they win the White House and Senate next week.
Coloradans sized up the decision Monday on the expected party-line Senate vote.
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who gave a half-hour speech on the Senate floor, spoke out on Twitter Monday before the vote.
"Ours is a Senate where words have lost their meaning," the Democrat said, likely referring to what Republican senators, include Colorado's Cory Gardner, said four years ago when they refused to hold hearings for President Obama's nominee eight months before the election, not eight days.
"Shameless hypocrisy is the stuff of proud triumphs. And a decision like that affirming Judge Barrett to a lifetime appointment is anything you have the power to cram down the throats of your political opponents."
Democrats need to flip four seats in the Senate (or three, if Joe Biden wins the White House and Sen. Kamala Harris is the presiding officer of the Senate).
Gardner is one of those most endangered, as he's trailed former Gov. John Hickenlooper throughout the campaign and outside money has moved to more winnable states.
The Colorado Republican spoke on the Senate floor on Barrett's behalf Monday.
"I look at any nominee for the courts, whether it's a district court or appellate court or a Supreme Court through a lens of are they going to protect that Constitution?" he said. "Are they going to uphold the Constitution, are they going to fight to defend it, that guardian of the Constitution? Are they going to protect and do the same with the law outside of the Constitution, the laws, the statutes that this body enacts, passes, signed into law by the president. Will that judge or justice uphold and defend that law? Not make that law, not change that law, but uphold the law. And of course that guardian of the Constitution role that they will play.
"There's no doubt that Judge Barrett's qualifications are immense. Her qualifications as a member of our great American community, somebody with a beautiful family, it's mind-boggling," he said. "Jamie and I have a challenge with our three kids making sure they get to school on time, making sure they're getting their homework done. I can't imagine seven children while also carrying the schedule that their family does, but it's a testament to the incredible power and leadership of their family, their dedication to being upstanding citizens of this nation and giving back to this nation with this new pursuit."
Gardner met with the nominee on Sept. 29. He tweeted afterward that they discusses her work as an appellate court judge and her "extensive" academic work, including clerking for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
"I am confident that Judge Barrett is a highly qualified jurist who has thought deeply about the Constitution, the role of precedent in judicial interpretation, and the importance of judges following the law as written rather than legislating from the bench," Gardner tweeted after the meeting.
Hickenlooper issued a statement immediately after the vote.
"Cory Gardner has been trying to get rid of protections for pre-existing conditions for more than a decade, and this vote is just his latest attempt to do so," Hickenlooper stated. "With health care on the ballot, we have eight days to make sure that Coloradans have their voices heard."
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, the chair of the state Republican Party and former Weld County district attorney, called Barrett a "supremely qualified jurist who will make us proud."
He continued, "Amy Coney Barrett is a brilliant legal mind and a solid conservative who will protect our Constitution and uphold the law. We all owe Sen. Gardner a 'thank you' for voting to confirm qualified nominees like Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court."
District Attorney George Brauchler, who has been a vocal supporter of the nomination, issued a statement Monday evening.
“The title Justice Amy Coney Barrett sounds pretty good," he stated. "It is nearly-impossible to be a lawyer in the public arena and be broadly well-liked. Yet, that is exactly what happened with Justice Barrett. Her legal contemporaries, law school colleagues, and students—regardless of political persuasion—know her as extraordinarily brilliant and exceedingly decent.
"Over the last four weeks, the American people took a look, and they agreed. In today’s hyper-polarized America, that is refreshing and needed.”
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado Springs, reiterated support for the decision to press ahead with Trump's nomination.
"It is fitting and proper that President Trump and the Senate fulfilled the constitutional duty for which they were elected by filling this important vacancy," Lamborn stated. "Judge Barrett has an impressive record on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and will serve honorably as our newest Supreme Court Justice. I look forward to her serving on the court for many years to come. I want to thank Senator Gardner for his principled stance and for voting to support a Justice that will uphold the constitution and rule of law.”
His Democratic opponent, Jillian Freeland, also put out a lengthy statement Monday evening.
"Their decision to jam this appointment through a mere eight days before an election flies in the face of 'traditions' cited by Senator McConnell and our very own Senator Cory Gardner in order to block President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland 11 months before the end of his term," she stated in part. "Senator McConnell stated his intent to block President Obama from fulfilling his Constitutional from fulfilling his Constitutional duty to nominate justices within hours of the passing of Justice Scalia."
Monday before the vote, Brie Franklin, the executive director of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, called out Gardner for his flip-flop from 2016 about election-year appointments and called on him "to have the integrity to stand by his words."
"The new Justice holds extreme positions on health care and the Affordable Care Act, discrimination on the basis of race and sex, and reproductive health and rights. Although she was careful to say virtually nothing of consequence in her hearings, the fact is that she has a long record proving her views are out of the mainstream," Franklin said after the vote. "I know her record, and I am frightened. She tilts the scales of justice against survivors of campus sexual assault, including men and boys.
"We know that the Supreme Court is likely to hear cases in the coming months and years that will further determine whether schools can take meaningful action to address and prevent sexual misconduct. With Justice Barrett on the bench, we can expect even fewer protections for all men, women, non-binary, and trans people in schools -- and beyond."
The Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University has been a strong backer of Barrett since the announcement of her nomination, seeing her as a kindred holy spirit.
"Judge Barrett has a proven track record as a scholar and judge," director Jeff Hunt said in an email to the institute's supporters Monday. "Her previous nominations were supported by both Republican and Democratic Senators. She will respect the original intent of the Constitution and will follow the law, not political whims. Amy Coney Barrett is the right selection for the U.S. Supreme Court."
NARAL Pro-Choice America Southwest regional director Caroline Mello Roberson called out Gardner as well, accusing the senator of betraying Colorado and "rubber-stamping the sham confirmation."
"[T]hanks to NARAL’s more than 58,000 members across Colorado, come Nov. 3rd, Cory Gardner will realize the colossal mistake he has made when he is ousted from the Senate once and for all,” she threatened in a statement.
Similarly, the No on 115 campaign called lifetime appointment "a tragic blow to all of us who are fighting day in and day out to protect abortion access.”
“Knowing that Justice Ginsburg, who dedicated her life to fighting for reproductive rights, has been replaced by someone who does not believe Roe v. Wade is worthy of respect and could be the deciding vote to overturn a woman’s constitutionally-guaranteed right to access abortion care, is nothing short of infuriating," campaign manager Lucy Olena continued in the statement.
This article has been updated.