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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

In her first week on the job, Amy Coney Barrett may be deciding which votes to count in the presidential election. By her third week, she’ll be deciding the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

Where it stands: The Senate votes on Barrett’s nomination tomorrow. If she’s confirmed, Chief Justice John Roberts is expected to swear her in at the Supreme Court within hours, an administration official tells Axios.

  • At that point, she's officially on the job, even if a ceremonial swearing-in at the White House comes later.
  • The official said they're following the same speedy process as they did for Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. He was confirmed on a Saturday and began hearing cases on Tuesday.
  • This means Barrett could weigh in immediately on election-related cases piling up, including emergency petitions on extending deadlines for counting absentee ballots.

Between the lines: Barrett could seal a majority delivering Republicans some decisive wins.

  • Because of a 4-4 tie last week, the court let stand an extended ballot-counting deadline in Pennsylvania. Roberts joined the three remaining liberals, while his conservative colleagues voted to block the extension.
  • If that conservative bloc held and was joined by Barrett, it could change how ballots are counted after Election Day in two critical swing states, Wisconsin and North Carolina.
  • More election-related lawsuits could reach the court in the coming weeks.

What’s next: Barrett also could jump straight into some enormously consequential work on the court’s regular schedule.

  • On Nov. 4, the court will hear a significant case on the collision of LGBTQ rights and religious freedom: whether Philadelphia violated the First Amendment by requiring adoption agencies to serve same-sex couples.
  • The week of Nov. 10, the court is scheduled to hear the Affordable Care Act case that dominated Barrett’s confirmation hearings.

Go deeper

Jan 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Congress certifies Joe Biden's Electoral College win

The House reconvenes Wednesday night for the joint session after pro-Trump mobs stormed the Capitol. Photo: Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images

A joint session of Congress ended a day of siege by officially certifying on Thursday President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win in the November election, the final step ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration.

The bottom line: The final votes in Congress confirm that Biden will be the 46th president of the United States—despite some Republican lawmakers' challenges and the rampage through the Capitol by supporters of President Trump.

By the numbers: Census to show first decline of white population

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Census Bureau via Brookings Institute; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The latest census is expected to show the first decline in history for the nation's non-Hispanic white population, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Brookings Institution's William Frey.

Why it matters: The U.S. is rapidly moving toward a majority-minority population — with the racial and ethnic diversity most apparent in younger cohorts. "This really is moving in a direction that’s going to favor the issues and the political agendas of these younger people," Frey told Axios.

Democrats plot filibuster workarounds

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several Democratic lawmakers are moving away from calls to eliminate the filibuster while privately discussing alternatives to bypass it, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: These talks have ramped up in earnest following the Republicans’ move Tuesday to block a measure to protect and expand voting rights.