Trump Picks Judge Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

September 25, 2020 by Dan McCue
Judge Amy Coney Barrett in Milwaukee, on Aug. 24, 2018. (Rachel Malehorn, rachelmalehorn.smugmug.com, via AP)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump will announce Saturday that he plans to nominate U.S. Appeals Court Judge Amy Comey Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

According to the White House, Trump will make the formal announcement at 5 p.m. in the Rose Garden, shortly before he departs for a campaign rally in Middletown, Pennsylvania.

Asked by reporters Friday night to confirm his choice, which was already being reported by many media outlets, the President would only say that Barrett “is outstanding.”

However, he did reveal that he hadn’t met with the women said to be the second leading contender for the Supreme Court, Barbara Lagoa, of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“By the way, a very highly thought-of person, I have to say that,” Trump said.

The nomination comes at a critical time in Trump’s campaign for re-election, as most polls consistently show him trailing Joe Biden, his Democratic rival for the White House.

Senate Republicans indicated Friday that they expect confirmation hearings to be held in about two weeks, with a vote in the full chamber expected before Election Day.

Democrats are powerless to block the votes. Senate Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the chamber and only two Republicans have said they’ll vote against any Supreme Court nominee before the election.

Barrett, a devote Catholic, has spent much of her professional life as a professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School. During her confirmation hearing in 2017 for a seat on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Democrats repeatedly questioned whether she could separate her duties from her Catholic faith.

At one point in the proceedings, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, opined that “the dogma lives loudly within you.” The phrase quickly became a rallying cry for conservatives.

It also spawned allegations that Democrats were attacking her Catholic faith, allegations Republicans revived this past week.

Trump allies hope that stance will help the president hold on to Catholics in his base, particularly in Pennsylvania where they make up a significant voting block.

 Biden, also Catholic, is trying to bring those voters back into the Democratic fold.

If Barrett is confirmed, her arrival at the court would represent the sharpest ideological swing since Clarence Thomas replaced Justice Thurgood Marshall nearly three decades ago.

It would also be the culmination of a nearly remarkable transformation of the federal judiciary. It would be the third justice named to the Supreme Court during Trump’s first term, in which he’s also nominated roughly a third of all current appeals court judges.

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