Trump Picks Conservative Amy Coney Barrett Of South Bend For Supreme Court

Sep 26, 2020

President Donald Trump walks with Judge Amy Coney Barrett to a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington.
Credit (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The move on Saturday caps a dramatic reshaping of the federal judiciary that will resonate for a generation. He also hopes it will provide boost his reelection effort as he looks to fend off Democrat Joe Biden. Republican senators are lining up for a swift confirmation of Barrett before the Nov. 3 election, as they aim to lock in conservative gains in the federal judiciary before a potential transition of power. She would be the sixth justice on the nine-member court to be appointed by a Republican president, and the third of Trump's first term in office.

 Here are some biographical details on Barrett. She is a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals nominated by President Donald Trump in 2017 and considered once before by Trump for a high court seat; her three-year judicial record shows a clear and consistent conservative bent.  She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School and Rhodes College who has taught law at Notre Dame, worked for a Washington law firm and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. /she is a devout Catholic mother of seven and Louisiana native born in 1972.

Barrett says she is “mindful” she would be taking the seat vacated by the death of departed liberal icon, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Speaking moments after President Donald Trumped nominated her to the high court during a Rose Garden news conference Saturday, Amy Coney Barrett promptly mentioned Ginsburg and said she was “mindful of who came before” her.

Barrett is a polar opposite of Ginsburg when it comes to judicial philosophy. Barret hailed conservative icon, former Justice Antonin Scalia, as her mentor.

But she called Ginsburg a justice of “enormous talent and consequence.” And she praised Ginsburg as a trailblazer for women’s rights, saying she “not only broke glass ceilings, she smashed them.

She also lauded Ginsburg for being able to disagree with colleagues on principles but “without rancor.”

 Barrett says her judicial philosophy is the same as that of her mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia. Barrett was a clerk for Scalia, who died in 2016. Barrett said Saturday that Scalia’s “judicial philosophy is mine too.” “Judges must apply the law as written. Judges are not policy makers,” she said. Scalia was a proponent of originalism, the method of constitutional interpretation that looks to the meaning of words and concepts as they were understood by the Founding Fathers.

President Donald Trump has called Amy Coney Barrett a “woman of unparalleled achievement” as he announces her nomination to the Supreme Court.

Trump said Saturday that she is one of the nation’s “brilliant and gifted legal minds.” And he called her “very eminently qualified for the job.”

Barrett is his third nomination to the high court after Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

But liberals say her legal views are too heavily influenced by her religious beliefs and fear her ascent to the nation’s highest court could lead to a scaling back of hard-fought abortion rights.

Trump says Amy Coney Barrett would be the first mother of school-age children to serve on the Supreme Court.

Barrett is 48 and has seven children, including two adopted from Haiti and a son with Down syndrome.

She would be the fifth woman to serve on the high court.

Her husband, Jesse, and her children are at the White House for Saturday’s ceremony.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will vote “in the weeks ahead” on President Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

The Republican leader said Saturday that Trump “could not have made a better decision” in nominating the appellate court judge.

McConnell says he looks forward to meeting Barrett next week.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, the week of Oct. 12. That’s according to three people familiar with the schedule.

The panel plans to start the hearing with opening statements on Monday, Oct. 12, and continue with two days of questioning. The hearings are scheduled to end on Thursday, Oct. 15 with statements from outside groups.

The people were granted anonymity to discuss the schedule before it is officially announced.

The hearings will come less than a month from the Nov. 3 presidential election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not yet said whether the Senate will vote to confirm Barrett before the election, but Republicans are privately aiming for a late October confirmation vote.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham says he hopes his committee will approve Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court by the week of Oct. 26, setting up a final confirmation vote on the Senate floor one week before the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Graham said after Trump’s announcement that his committee will hold four days of confirmation hearings the week of Oct. 12, and it would likely take another week to approve the nomination, under committee rules.

Graham said on Fox News’ “Justice with Judge Jeanine": “Hopefully we’ll come to the floor around the 26th, and that will be up to (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell."

No Democratic senators are expected to vote to confirm Barrett to the Supreme Court ahead of the Nov. 3 election, even though some did support her in 2017 for the federal appeals court.

Two Democrats still serving in the Senate who voted to confirm Barrett in 2017, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, now say it’s too close to the election to consider her nomination. Republicans control the Senate 53-47, so Barrett could still be confirmed without Democratic support.

Kaine said voting is already underway in his and other states. “Rushing a confirmation vote before the American people have weighed in would be reckless,” he said in a statement.

Said Manchin, “I cannot support a process that risks further division of the American people at a time when we desperately need to come together.” He said he would not vote to support Barrett or any nominee before Nov. 3.

In 2016, Republicans said it was too close to the election to confirm President Barack Obama's pick to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Scalia died 237 days before the election. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom Barrett would be replacing, died 46 days before the election.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is responding to Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court by calling for the Senate not to act until after the presidential election.

But in a lengthy written statement Saturday, Biden’s only explicit criticism of President Donald Trump’s nominee turned on health care.

Biden framed Trump’s choice as another move in Republicans’ effort to scrap the 2010 health care law passed by his boss, President Barack Obama.

“She has a written track record of disagreeing with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act,” Biden said in a written statement. “She critiqued Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion upholding the law in 2012.”

Sen. Kamala Harris says she’ll oppose Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Harris is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee tasked with vetting the nominee and the Democratic vice presidential candidate.

“It would be travesty to replace (Ginsburg) with a justice who is being selected to undo her legacy and erase everything she did for our country,” Harris said in a statement through her Senate office.

Harris and Joe Biden have focused on what a shift in the court’s ideological makeup would mean for the Affordable Care Act. The high court is set to hear a case aimed at striking down the law shortly after the election. Harris said she opposes Barrett because of both Republican efforts to overturn the health law and to role back abortion rights.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are warning that a vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act.

Schumer said Saturday that President Donald Trump is once again putting “Americans’ healthcare in the crosshairs” even while the coronavirus pandemic rages.

Pelosi said all the protections offered with the Affordable Care Act, including its ban on insurers denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions and the ability for young adults to remain on parents’ plans, “will be gone.”

The Supreme Court is expected to take up the Trump-backed case challenging the health care law in November.

The Democratic leaders warn that with Barrett, the court will almost surely tip rightward and could strike down the law.

Roman Catholics account for a bit more than 20% of the U.S. population. Yet they are on track to hold six of the Supreme Court’s nine seats now that President Donald Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett to fill a vacancy. It’s a striking development given that the high court, for most of its history, was almost entirely populated by white male Protestants. Catholic academics and political analysts offer several explanations for the turnaround. They cite Catholics’ educational traditions, their interest in the law, and – in the case of Catholic conservatives – an outlook that has appealed to recent Republican presidents. Barrett is a favorite of conservative activists for her views on abortion and other issues.

The President of Notre Dame issued a statement within moments of the announcement becoming official. 

(You can read his comments below.) 

“The same impressive intellect, character and temperament that made Judge Barrett a successful nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals will serve her and the nation equally well as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court,” Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said. “An alumna and a faculty member of Notre Dame Law School, Judge Barrett has epitomized the University’s commitment to teaching, scholarship, justice and service to society. She is a person of the utmost integrity who, as a jurist, acts first and foremost in accord with the law. I join her colleagues in the Law School and across the campus in congratulating her on the nomination, and wish her and her family well through what has become, sadly, a personally bruising confirmation process.”