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Amy Coney Barrett 'to be Donald Trump's pick for US Supreme Court'

Nick Allen
·3-min read
barrett - Reuters
barrett - Reuters

Donald Trump is expected to name conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy on the US Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The US president has said he would announce his choice on Saturday evening and Ms Barrett, 48, has been the favourite since Justice Ginsburg died aged 87 on September 18th.

Republicans in Congress said the White House had indicated to them that Ms Barrett was the president's intended pick, US media reported.

They said it was still possible Mr Trump could change his mind, but their expectation was he would choose Ms Barrett.

She has been viewed as a frontrunner throughout, along with fellow appeal court judge Barbara Lagoa.

It is believed Ms Barrett is the only one of Mr Trump's shortlist of five who met with him in person this week.

She was at the White House early in the week and reportedly impressed the president.

Ms Barrett previously met with Mr Trump when he was selecting his nominee for a Supreme Court vacancy in 2018.

At the time Mr Trump picked Brett Kavanaugh but reportedly said he was "saving" Ms Barrett for the next vacancy.

When asked tonight if he had made a decision, Mr Trump said: "In my own mind, yes."

After being told that Amy Coney Barrett was being reported as the pick, Mr Trump said: "I haven’t said that. They’re all great. I haven’t said it was her but she is outstanding."

barrett - Rachel Malehorn
barrett - Rachel Malehorn

Mr Trump was campaigning in Florida on Friday. Asked if he used the trip to meet with Barbara Lagoa, the other favourite for the nomination, who is from Florida, the president said he did not.

On Friday, Ms Barrett was still at her home in South Bend, Indiana.

For many years she was a professor at the University of Notre Dame, which is located there.

A former senior administration official said: "She was the plan all along."

Ms Barrett 48, was nominated by Mr Trump to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017, and is known for her conservative views on issues including abortion.

If confirmed by the Senate it would give a commanding 6-3 conservative majority on the nine-member court at a time of intense political divisions in the United States.

Mr Trump's nominee has what appears to be a clear path to Senate confirmation, with Republicans holding a 53-47 majority. He is determined to get the nomination confirmed quickly before the election on Nov 3.

Only two Republican senators - Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska - have indicated opposition to moving forward with the process before the election.

Mitt Romney, the senator from Utah, has supported holding a confirmation hearing before the election, after some doubted he would.

Democrats have called for Mr Trump not to pursue his nomination so close to an election, but the president has said he and Republicans have an obligation to voters to do so.

Ms Barrett's confirmation to the appellate court in 2017 included allegations that Democrats were attacking her Catholic faith.

Mike Pence, the vice president, earlier this week, said: "I must tell you the intolerance expressed during her last confirmation about her Catholic faith I really think was a disservice to the process and a disappointment to millions of Americans."

During the 2016 election Mr Trump's pledge to pick conservative Supreme Court justices to rule on issues including abortion and gun rights, was a major part of his campaign, and it will be so again four years later.

Opponents of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalising abortion, could be overturned.

Ms Barrett would be the youngest justice on the Supreme Court and her lifetime appointment could see her influence last for decades.