Trump plans to pick Judge Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court, media reports say

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump intends to nominate conservative federal appeals court judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. media reported on Friday, citing Republican sources.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a law professor at Notre Dame University, poses in an undated photograph obtained from Notre Dame University September 19, 2020. Matt Cashore/Notre Dame University/Handout via REUTERS.

Trump has said he will announce on Saturday his choice to replace Ginsburg, the liberal icon who died on Sept. 18 at age 87. The Republican president has multiple times this week mentioned Barrett as under consideration.

CNN and the New York Times reported on Friday that Trump has settled on her as his pick, citing sources who also said he could change his mind.

Asked if Trump planned to nominate Barrett, a Senate aide told Reuters that the White House “has sent every smoke signal you can send” indicating that.

The White House declined to comment.

Barrett, 48, was appointed by Trump to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 and is known for her conservative religious views. Supreme Court justices are given lifetime appointments.

If confirmed, Trump’s nominee would give conservatives a commanding 6-3 majority on the court at a time of intense political divisions in the United States.

Barrett has been viewed as a frontrunner throughout, along with fellow federal appeals court judge Barbara Lagoa. Barrett previously served as a clerk to conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016.

Trump’s nominee has what appears to be a clear path to Senate confirmation before the Nov. 3 presidential election, with Republicans holding a 53-47 majority in the chamber and only two senators in his party indicating opposition to moving forward with the process.

Democrats have objected to the Senate acting on Trump’s nominee in light of the decision by Republicans in the chamber in 2016 to refuse to consider Democratic President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Scalia after he died during a presidential election year.

Trump has made two previous Supreme Court appointments: Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.

Ginsburg, a champion of gender equality and various liberal causes, made history again on Friday as the first woman and first Jewish person to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden attended the ceremony a day after Trump was greeted with jeers and boos by a nearby crowd as he visited Ginsburg’s flag-draped coffin outside the Supreme Court building.

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