President Donald Trump plans to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, unnamed sources familiar with the decision said Friday.
The president is expected to make an official announcement Saturday afternoon, the sources told CBS News and The New York Times.
Barrett serves as a judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and has been the leading contender for a seat on the high court, according to pundits. Should she be confirmed, she would give the court an even greater conservative majority at 6-3.
Two sources told CNN that Barrett is the only potential nominee to have met with Trump in person this week. She was under consideration during the last vacancy, but the president ultimately chose Brett Kavanaugh.
“She was the plan all along,” one of the sources said. “She’s the most distinguished and qualified by traditional measures. She has the strongest support among the legal conservatives who have dedicated their lives to the court.
“She will contribute most to the court’s jurisprudence in the years and decades to come.”
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Sept. 18, the day of Ginsburg’s death, that he plans to hold a floor vote on Trump’s nominee before the Nov. 3 election. Democrats have called for a delay so that whoever is elected president on Election Day can choose the nominee.
McConnell, meanwhile, blocked hearings for former President Barack Obama’s nominee after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia about nine months before the 2016 election.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” McConnell said at the time. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
His perspective has since changed.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg from 2016: Asked if the Senate had an obligation to assess Judge Garland’s qualifications, her answer was immediate.
“That’s their job,” she said. “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year.” – New York Times
“In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term. We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year,” McConnell wrote.
“By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise.”
A Washington Post/ABC News poll released Friday, though, found that a majority of Americans — 57% — want the newly elected president to pick the nominee, whether that’s Trump or Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. When asked who they specifically want to pick a nominee, 50% chose Biden and 42% chose Trump.
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