Trump to nominate new Supreme Court judge

President Donald Trump will nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court, according to reports that cited sources familiar with the process.The White House has indicated in conversations that Ms Barrett was Mr Trump’s intended choice to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg but cautioned that he could still change his mind, senior Republican sources told CNN.
Ms Barrett was spotted Friday at her home in South Bend, Indiana, but it’s unclear if she’s aware of Mr Trump’s intentions, CNN said.
Ms Barrett is a former law clerk to late right wing Justice Antonin Scalia, and her appointment would tip the Supreme Court to a conservative majority, 6 to 3.
The New York Times also reported that Mr Trump had made Ms Barrett his choice.
Supreme Court nominees are often informed of their selection at the last possible moment to maintain secrecy.
Trump has repeatedly said that he was going to pick a woman and make a formal announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House at 5pm Saturday.
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The president said Monday that he was considering five women for the seat on the Supreme Court, including Ms Barrett and another federal appeals court judge, Barbara Lagoa.
President Trump told reporters on Friday evening he had made up his mind on his Supreme Court nominee, but he refused to confirm that it was Ms Barrett.
“I haven’t said that,” Mr Trump said after arriving back in DC from Florida.
“I haven’t said it was her, but she is outstanding.”
The commander in chief said he did not meet with Lagoa while he was in the Sunshine State.
At 48, Ms Barrett would also be the youngest member of the high court and would maintain its conservative majority for decades.
The revelation of Mr Trump’s reported intentions came just hours after Ginsburg’s body lay in state at the US Capitol, making her the first woman and the first Jewish person to receive the posthumous honour.
Ginsburg, who died September 18 of metastatic pancreatic cancer at 87, will reportedly be buried next week in Arlington National Cemetery, next to her late husband, Marty Ginsburg, who died in 2010.
The move to replace Ginsburg ahead of the November 3 election has sparked outrage from Democrats because US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) blocked then-President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal appeals Judge Merrick Garland in 2016 on grounds that it was an election year.
Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate and two GOP members — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — have objected to fast-tracking Ginsburg’s replacement, but no others appear ready to break ranks.
Earlier this week, Mr Trump called on Republican senators to quickly confirm whoever he nominated so the Supreme Court has a full bench of nine justices to rule on a likely legal battle over mail-in votes cast in his race against former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden.
“I think this scam that the Democrats are pulling — it’s a scam,” he said Wednesday.
“This scam will be before the United States Supreme Court and I think having the four-four situation is not a good situation if you get that.”
In 2017, Mr Trump nominated Ms Barrett, then a Notre Dame law professor, to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, and she was confirmed by the US Senate in a near-party-line vote of 55-43.
Ms Barrett was also reportedly on his shortlist to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018 after the jurist announced his retirement at age 81.
But Ms Barrett’s White House interview didn’t go well, NPR reported Thursday, citing a source who said she had to wear dark glasses due to a case of conjunctivitis and was “not at her best.”
Mr Trump ultimately nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, who was confirmed by a narrow 50-48 margin following a gruelling, four-day hearing during which he emotionally denied Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that he sexually assaulted her while drunk at a party when they were teenagers.
A report last year in Axios suggested Mr Trump still had big plans for Barrett, based on private comments he reportedly made to confidants while discussing Kennedy’s replacement.
“I’m saving her for Ginsburg,” Mr Trump said in remarks confirmed this week by NPR.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission