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Amy Coney Barrett is about to take her place on the bench of the US Supreme Court, making her one of the nine most powerful people in America.

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg 46 days before the election gave Republicans an opportunity to solidify the conservative majority of the court.

After an evening vote in the Senate which saw her confirmed 52 to 48, Justice Barrett was sworn in at the White House, making her the sixth conservative-leaning justice on the nine-member bench.

Once she puts on the robe, Justice Barrett will immediately preside over a list of contentious petitions to the court.

Some even relate to the potential political fortunes and financial dealings of President Donald Trump, who put her on the bench.

The presidential election is now one week away, and because of the coronavirus pandemic, more Americans than ever are voting by mail.

A composite image of Donald Trump and Joe Biden in front of the logos of the Republican and Democratic Party.

Follow the twists and turns as Donald Trump and Joe Biden face off in the race for the White House.

Republicans in the crucial swing state of Pennsylvania have asked the Supreme Court to block efforts to allow an additional three days to count the mail-in ballots. Advocates wanted the extension to allow for the processing of ballots that arrive late or do not have a legible postmark.

According to the brief, the Supreme Court was divided 4-4 on the emergency stay request, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the liberals to allow the extension.

Five justices are needed to grant the Republicans' request, making Justice Barrett's vote critical in the new request.

Pennsylvania Republicans have already filed a second petition for the Supreme Court to hear the case again.

Mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania in storage before being counted on November 3.(Reuters: Jarrett Renshaw)

"If it goes back to the US Supreme Court … Amy Coney Barrett … could be a 5-4 majority striking those rules down," senior lecturer in American politics and foreign policy at the United States Studies Centre, David Smith, said.

"It's broadly agreed Trump can't win without Pennsylvania. If Biden doesn't win Pennsylvania, then he will probably lose as well. So it is absolutely key."

More cases could still follow, with deadlines for ballots unclear in a few other states.

Justice Barrett will also weigh in on any post-election disputes that emerge as ballots are counted.

When asked about election cases during her confirmation process, Judge Barrett said she was "100 per cent committed to judicial independence from political pressure".


Donald Trump Supreme Court Amy Coney Barrett
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