President Donald Trump on Saturday made it official as he announced appellate judge Amy Coney Barrett as his third appointment to the Supreme Court, launching what will surely be a fierce battle mere weeks away from the presidential election. From the White House Rose Garden, Trump said that the 48-year-old devout Catholic is “one of our nation’s most brilliant gifted legal minds.” If confirmed, Barrett, who is a mom of seven, would become the fifth woman to serve in the nation’s highest court while pushing its conservative majority to 6-3.
Trump said he had studied Barrett’s record closely before picking her to become his third Supreme Court nominee. “I looked and I studied, and you are very eminently qualified,” he said alongside Barrett. He added that Barrett, who has served on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since late 2017, would help ensure “the survival of our Second Amendment, our religious liberty, our public safety and so much more.”
In introducing Barrett, Trump emphasized how she had graduated first in her class at Notre Dame Law School and was a clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016. Barrett said she was honored to have members of Scalia’s family at the event and said she would serve under a similar philosophy as that of the late justice. “His judicial philosophy is mine, too,” she said. “A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they may hold.”
As she sought to take over the seat of a justice who led the court’s liberals, Barrett had some words about her would-be predecessor. “Should I be confirmed, I will be mindful of who came before me,” Judge Barrett said. “She not only broke glass ceilings, she smashed them, and for that she has won the admiration of women across the country.” Barrett also focused on Ginsburg’s close friendship with Scalia. “Justices Scalia and Ginsburg disagreed fiercely in print without rancor in person,” she said.
Republicans are already gearing up for what Trump joked would be an “extremely noncontroversial” confirmation process. “We said that the last time, didn’t we?” he said in reference to Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the judge Saturday and made clear, in case there was any doubt, that the Senate will vote on Trump’s pick. “Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an exceptionally impressive jurist and an exceedingly well-qualified nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States,” McConnell said. “As I have stated, this nomination will receive a vote on the Senate floor in the weeks ahead.
Joe Biden released a statement focusing on Barrett’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act and reiterating that the Senate should not act on the nomination until after the next president is chosen. “The United States constitution was designed to give the voters one chance to have their voice heard on who serves on the court,” Biden said. “That moment is now and their voice should be heard. The Senate should not act on this vacancy until after the American people select their next president and the next Congress.”