President Trump nominating Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court

President Trump is nominating Amy Coney Barrett, a U.S. judge and former law professor, to the Supreme Court.


President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Saturday, capping a dramatic reshaping of the federal judiciary that will resonate for a generation and that he hopes will provide a needed boost to his reelection effort.

Trump hailed Barrett as “a woman of remarkable intellect and character,” saying he had studied her record closely before making the pick.

Barrett, 48, was joined in the Rose Garden by her husband and seven children.

“I looked and I studied, and you are very eminently qualified,” he said as Barrett stood next to him in the Rose Garden.

Republican senators are already lining up for a swift confirmation ahead of the Nov. 3 election, as they aim to lock in conservative gains in the federal judiciary before a potential transition of power.

Trump, meanwhile, is hoping the nomination will serve to galvanize his supporters as he looks to fend off Democrat Joe Biden.

Prior to the announcement, Trump noted the country has mourned the loss of a legend and legal giant of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The announcement came before Ginsburg was buried beside her husband next week at Arlington National Cemetery. On Friday, she was the first woman to lie in state at the Capitol, and mourners flocked to the Supreme Court for two days before that to pay respects.

Barrett said she was “truly humbled” by the nomination, adding that she would be "mindful of who came before me." She praised Ginsburg upon accepting the nomination, saying, "She has won the admiration of women across the country and indeed all across the world."

Barrett is a polar opposite of Ginsburg when it comes to judicial philosophy. Barret hailed conservative icon, former Justice Antonin Scalia, as her mentor.

But she called Ginsburg a justice of “enormous talent and consequence.” And she praised Ginsburg as a trailblazer for women’s rights, saying she “not only broke glass ceilings, she smashed them.

She also lauded Ginsburg for being able to disagree with colleagues on principles but “without rancor.”

Barrett is described as heir to Scalia. Like Scalia, for whom she once clerked, she is a committed Roman Catholic as well as a firm devotee of his favored interpretation of the Constitution known as originalism. Those qualifications delight many on the right but dismay liberals and others who fear her votes could result in the chipping away of some laws, especially the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Biden responded to Barrett’s nomination by calling for the Senate not to act until after the presidential election. But in a lengthy written statement Saturday, Biden’s only explicit criticism of President Donald Trump’s nominee turned on health care.

Biden framed Trump’s choice as another move in Republicans’ effort to scrap the 2010 health care law passed by his boss, President Barack Obama.

“She has a written track record of disagreeing with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act,” Biden said in a written statement. “She critiqued Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion upholding the law in 2012.”

Sen. Kamala Harris says she’ll oppose Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination. Harris is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee tasked with vetting the nominee and the Democratic vice presidential candidate.

“It would be travesty to replace (Ginsburg) with a justice who is being selected to undo her legacy and erase everything she did for our country,” Harris said in a statement through her Senate office.

Barrett has been a federal judge since 2017, when Trump nominated her to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But as a longtime University of Notre Dame law professor, she had already established herself as a reliable conservative in the mold of Scalia.

Barrett and her husband, Jesse Barrett, a former federal prosecutor, both graduated from Notre Dame Law School. They have seven children, including two adopted from Haiti and one with special needs.

She would be the only justice on the current court not to have received her law degree from an Ivy League school. The eight current justices all attended either Harvard or Yale.

The staunch conservative had become known to Trump in large part after her bitter 2017 appeals court confirmation included allegations that Democrats were attacking her Catholic faith. The president also interviewed her in 2018 for the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, but Trump ultimately chose Brett Kavanaugh.

“This is my third such nomination after Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh, and it is a very proud moment indeed," Trump said in the Rose Garden.

Trump joked that the confirmation process ahead “should be easy” and “extremely noncontroversial," though it is likely to be anything but. No court nominee has been considered so close to a presidential election before, with early voting already underway. He encouraged legislators to take up her nomination swiftly and asked Democrats to “refrain from personal and partisan attacks.”

In 2016, Republicans blocked Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court to fill the election-year vacancy, saying voters should have a say in the lifetime appointment. Senate Republicans say they will move ahead this time, arguing the circumstances are different now that the White House and Senate are controlled by the same party.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will vote “in the weeks ahead” on Barrett’s confirmation. Hearings are set to begin Oct. 12. Trump said he thinks Barrett will be confirmed to the Supreme Court before Election Day on Nov. 3.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that a vote to confirm Barrett to the high court would be a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act. Schumer added that the president was once again putting “Americans’ healthcare in the crosshairs” even while the coronavirus pandemic rages.

The set design at the Rose Garden, with large American flags hung between the colonnades, appeared to be modeled on the way the White House was decorated when President Bill Clinton nominated Ginsburg in 1993.