TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - According to several sources, President Donald Trump is expected to nominate federal judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the open Supreme Court seat.
President Trump is expected to announce the nomination at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26.
At just 48, Barrett would be the youngest justice and her tenure could last for decades. She’s made her mark in law primarily as an academic at the University of Notre Dame, where she began teaching at age 30. She first donned judges' robes in 2017 after Trump nominated her to the 7th Circuit.
Several outlets have said Barrett was the front-runner to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Barrett is a federal appellate judge who has established herself as a reliable conservative on hot-button legal issues from abortion to gun control.
Barrett, a devout Catholic, is hailed by religious conservatives and others on the right as an ideological heir to conservative icon Antonin Scalia, the late Supreme Court justice for whom she clerked.
Liberals have said Barrett’s legal views are too heavily influenced by her religious beliefs and fear her ascent to the nation’s highest court could lead to a scaling back of hard-fought abortion rights. She also would replace the justice who is best known for fighting for women’s rights and equality.
Barrett was considered a finalist in 2018 for Trump’s second nomination to the high court, which eventually went to Brett Kavanaugh after Justice Anthony Kennedy retired. Barrett’s selection now could help Trump energize his base weeks before Election Day.
Democrats, led by presidential nominee Joe Biden, are protesting the Republicans' rush to replace Ginsburg, saying voters should speak first, on Election Day, Nov. 3, and the winner of the White House should fill the vacancy.
Trump dismissed those arguments, telling “Fox & Friends,” “I think that would be good for the Republican Party, and I think it would be good for everybody to get it over with.”
The mounting clash over the vacant seat — when to fill it and with whom — injects new turbulence in the presidential campaign with the nation still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 Americans, left millions unemployed and heightened partisan tensions and anger.
Up until now, the race has been largely a referendum on how Trump has managed or mismanaged the COVID-19 pandemic.
Democrats point to hypocrisy in Republicans trying to rush through a pick so close to the election after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led the GOP in refusing to vote on a nominee of President Barack Obama in February 2016, long before that year’s election. Biden is appealing to GOP senators to “uphold your constitutional duty, your conscience” and wait until after the election.
Ginsburg, 87, died Friday of metastatic pancreatic cancer. She will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol this week, the first woman ever accorded that honor. First, her casket is to be on view mid-week on the steps of the high court. She is to be buried next week in a private service at Arlington National Cemetery.