Trump plans to pick Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg


President Trump will nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court on Saturday barring any last second change, multiple people familiar with the process confirmed.

Two sources with knowledge of the process said that Barrett is the pick, barring any change of Trump’s mind before Saturday evening’s announcement in the White House Rose Garden. 

A Republican official said Trump began informing allies on Capitol Hill of his intention to nominate Barrett, a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Barrett is the favorite choice of conservative Christians who hope to overturn the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade establishing a woman’s right to an abortion, and has strong support from conservative GOP senators, including her home-state senator, Mike Braun (R) of Indiana. 

“He’s made his decision and it’s Barrett,” said the official. 

Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews Friday evening that he has made his decision in his “own mind” but declined to confirm that Barrett was the choice. Trump will announce his choice at a White House ceremony at 5 p.m. Saturday.

“I haven’t said it was her but she is outstanding,” Trump said of Barrett.

Trump was very pleased with Barrett’s performance during a meeting at the White House on Monday, the president has told allies. It was his only known in-person meeting with judges he was considering for the vacancy. 

Another person close to the White House said they would be “shocked” if Barrett was not the choice, saying Trump had appeared to settle on the 48-year-old judge as his pick in recent days. 

Barrett is expected to start meeting with Republicans senators on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

Barrett immediately emerged as the front-runner to fill the vacancy after Ginsburg died due to complications related to pancreatic cancer at the age of 87 last Friday.

One of the sources close to the process said that a confirmation hearing for Barrett is expected in the next two weeks, with a confirmation vote occurring sometime in late October, before the Nov. 3 election.

A former clerk for late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Notre Dame law professor, Barrett was nominated by Trump and confirmed in a 55-43 vote by the Senate to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in 2017. At the time, three Democratic senators supported her nomination: Joe Donnelly (Ind.), who subsequently lost his 2018 reelection bid, Tim Kaine (Va.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.).

She became an instant star among conservatives following her 2017 confirmation hearing, during which Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) questioned her on the role of her Catholic faith in judging.

Barrett was previously considered as a potential nominee to replace Anthony Kennedy in 2018, but Trump ultimately chose to nominate Brett Kavanaugh to fill that vacancy. 

If confirmed, Barrett will be the third Supreme Court justice to be nominated by Trump, following Justices Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, delivering a decisive 6-3 conservative majority on the High Court. 

The only other judge who appeared to be seriously considered for the opening on the high court was Barbara Lagoa, whom Trump appointed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2018. The president’s allies in Florida lobbied for Lagoa as the pick, arguing her Cuban heritage and bipartisan confirmation to the appellate bench could win over moderate voters and swing the Sunshine State his way.

But a meeting with Lagoa never materialized, and some White House allies expressed reservations about whether the judge’s record was conservative enough, particularly on the issue of abortion.

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