Amy Coney Barrett
Photo: OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP
Despite fierce opposition from the Democrats, the Senate has confirmed conservative lawyer Amy Coney Barrett as a Supreme Court judge a week before the US presidential election.
The Donald Trump nominee will succeed the deceased liberal justice icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The decision was made with the votes of 52 Republican members of the Senate, the 47 Democrats and one Republican voted against.
The judges are nominated by the President and appointed by the Senate.
With Barrett's appointment, the Conservatives get a dominant majority of six of the nine seats in the Supreme Court.
That could influence the development of US society for decades.
Judges are appointed for life, and the Supreme Court often has the final say on controversial cases - including abortion rights, health care and immigration policies.
Trump really wanted to fill the vacant seat before the presidential election on November 3.
He also referred explicitly to possible legal proceedings relating to the counting of votes that could end up in the Supreme Court.
The Democrats around the presidential candidate Joe Biden, however, demanded that only the winner of the election should settle the Ginsburg succession.
In the end, only Senator Susan Collins supported this view on the Republican side.
Most recently, the Democrats warned that with Barrett in the Supreme Court, President Barack Obama's health care reform could fall and millions of Americans would lose their health insurance.
The Trump administration is making one more attempt to overturn reform in the Supreme Court, with the first hearing due the week after the presidential election.
Trump only said last week that he hoped the court would abolish "Obamacare".
He himself has been announcing his own health care plan for years, but has still not presented it.
Liberals also fear that with Barrett and Conservative dominance in the Supreme Court, abortion rights and same-sex marriages could also be at risk.
In her hearing, which lasted several days, Barrett consistently kept a low profile on the controversial issues.
Among other things, she did not want to say whether, from her point of view, the right to abortion or same-sex marriages is covered by the constitution.
She herself is known as an anti-abortionist - but assured her that personal views would play no role in her decisions.
The Democrats were also outraged because the Republicans in the Senate even refused to give a hearing to Obama's Supreme Court candidates in early 2016.
They pointed out that in an election year one first had to find out the will of the people.
Now they are moving away from that position with Barrett.
Icon: The mirror