Amy Coney Barrett ‘to be picked by Trump for Supreme Courtroom’
US President Donald Trump is reportedly to appoint Amy Coney Barrett, a social conservative favorite, as the new Supreme Court Justice.
The president’s decision, due to be announced at the White House on Saturday, has been confirmed to the BBC’s US partner, CBS News, and other US media outlets.
It would replace the liberal judiciary Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away last Friday.
The nomination will spark a fierce battle in the Senate to endorse it when the White House elections come in November.
CBS reported, citing multiple sources involved in or familiar with the selection process, that the president selected Judge Barrett.
- Ginsburg is the first US woman to reside in the state
If upheld, conservative judges will hold a 6-3 majority in the US Supreme Court for the foreseeable future.
Amy Coney Barrett, 48, would be the third judiciary appointed to the bank by this Republican president, after Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.
Media playback is not supported on your device
Media signatureRuth Bader Ginsburg’s personal trainer honors her with push-ups
The nine judges serve lifelong appointments, and their decisions can sway public order in everything from gun rights and voting rights to abortion and campaign finance long after the presidents they appoint leave office.
In recent years, the court has expanded gay marriage to all 50 states, allowed Mr. Trump’s travel ban to be passed, and delayed a U.S. plan to reduce carbon emissions while appeals were in progress.
Difficult position for Democrats
Amy Coney Barrett has been on Donald Trump’s shortlist for Supreme Court vacancies for some time, but it has been said she would be the most suitable replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
As of last week, that was no longer a hypothetical scenario.
Even before Mr Trump was reportedly making Judge Barrett his election, Conservatives were gathering around the candidate, whoever it was. And if they stick together, as all but two seem to be doing, their confirmation seems to be certain – be it before the November election or afterwards in a Senate session with “lame duck”.
The election of Judge Barrett puts the Democrats in a difficult position. You need to find a way to undermine support for the candidate without attacking her Catholic faith or personal background – measures that could risk knocking out some voters in November. They will try to delay the trial as much as possible while continuing to focus on issues such as health care and abortion, which could be at the center of future litigation with a Barrett judge in a conservatively dominated court.
Then they have to hope that Judge Barrett or the Republicans make a critical mistake. It’s a big job, but right now it’s the only piece they have.
Who Is Amy Coney Barrett?
She is described as a devout Catholic who, according to a 2013 article, said that “life begins at conception”. This makes her a favorite among religious conservatives looking to overturn the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
She also voted for President Trump’s tough immigration policy and advocated far-reaching gun rights.
She was nominated by President Trump to the 7th Court of Appeals in Chicago and confirmed by the Senate with 55 votes to 43 after a difficult process in October 2017. She was one of the names the President considered in 2017 to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy.
After graduating from Notre Dame University Law School in Indiana, she worked as a clerk for the late Judge Antonin Scalia, who passed away in 2016. She was a law scholar at Notre Dame for around 15 years.
She was born in New Orleans and is married to a former Indiana federal attorney. They have seven children together.
Two of them were adopted from Haiti and their youngest child has Down syndrome.
Fight for the Supreme Court
Will Judge Barrett be confirmed?
The White House has started liaising with the Republican Senate offices to arrange meetings with the candidate next week, two sources familiar with the planning told CBS.
The courtesy calls are expected to begin on Wednesday. The candidate will then be grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which includes 22 Republicans and Democrats.
The hearings usually last three to five days. The committee members then vote on whether the nomination should be sent to the entire Senate. In this case, all 100 senators will vote on whether to approve or reject them.
Republicans have a slim majority of 53 Senators in the Chamber, but they already have the 51 votes they need to endorse Judge Barrett.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to hold a confirmatory vote ahead of the November 3rd White House election.
Aside from one surprise, the Democrats appear to have few procedural options to keep them from sliding through the Senate to the Supreme Court bench.
In Judge Barrett’s 2017 retrial for the 7th Court of Appeals, she was asked if her religious beliefs could affect her jurisdiction.
Dianne Feinstein, a California Senator, told the candidate during that hearing, “The dogma lives out loud within you.”
Judge Barrett insisted that their professional and religious beliefs should be kept separate. It’s not clear if the Democrats will make their religion an issue this time around.
Media playback is not supported on your device
Media signature2016 vs 2020: What Republicans Said About Electing a Supreme Court in an Election Year
Why is the nomination controversial?
Since Ginsburg’s death, Republican senators have been accused of hypocrisy for promoting a Supreme Court nomination during an election year.
In 2016, McConnell refused to hold hearings for Democratic President Barack Obama’s candidate for the court, Merrick Garland.
The nomination, which came 237 days before the election, was successfully blocked as Republicans held the Senate, arguing that the decision should be made outside of an election year.
Now 39 days before the 2020 election, Democrats say Republicans should stand by their previous position and let voters decide.
A Reuters / Ipsos poll conducted after Ginsburg’s death found that 62% of adults in the United States believed the job should be filled by the presidential winner, while 23% disagreed and the rest said they disagreed for sure.