“Today it is my honor to nominate one of our nation’s most brilliant and gifted legal minds to the Supreme Court,” Trump said.
Amy Coney’s nomination was necessitated by the demise of Ruth Bader Ginsburd an American jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death, on Sept 18th, 2020.
Contrary to Trump’s decision Joe Biden, Democratic presidential nominee repeated his call for the appointment to be made by the winner of the Nov. 3 election.
“The Senate should not act on this vacancy until after the American people select their next president and the next Congress,” Biden said.
Amy who was just nominated pledges to become a justice in the mold of the late staunch conservative Antonin Scalia, who was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1986 to 2016.
Trump’s announced the nomination during a flag-festooned White House Rose Garden ceremony – with Amy, 48, by his side the president expect the Senate to confirm her before Election Day in 5-1/2 weeks as he seeks a second term in office.
If confirmed, Amy would become the fifth woman ever to serve on the court and would push its conservative majority to a commanding 6-3.
Like Trump’s two other appointees, Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, Amy is young enough that she could serve for decades in the lifetime job, leaving a lasting conservative imprint. Barrett is the youngest Supreme Court nominee since conservative Clarence Thomas was 43 in 1991.
Scalia, who died in 2016, was one of the most influential conservative justices in recent history. Amy had previously served as a clerk for Scalia on the high court and described him as her mentor, citing his “incalculable influence” on her life.
“His judicial philosophy is mine too: a judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers,” Amy Coney Barrett said.
On the court, Scalia voted to curb abortion rights, dissented when the court legalised gay marriage – he called it a “judicial putsch” – and backed broad gun rights, among other positions.
With Trump’s fellow Republicans holding a 53-47 Senate majority, confirmation appears certain, though Democrats may try to make it as difficult as possible.
An emboldened Supreme Court conservative majority could shift the United States to the right on hot-button issues by, among other things, curbing abortion rights, expanding religious rights, striking down gun control laws, halting the expansion of LGBT rights, and endorsing new restrictions on voting rights.
Amy, a devout Roman Catholic who earned her law degree and taught at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, was appointed by Trump to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 and is a favorite of religious conservatives, a key Trump voter bloc.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement praising Amy and pledging to move forward quickly with the confirmation process.
“I urge lawmakers and members of the media to refrain from personal or partisan attacks” on Amy, Trump added.
Abortion rights advocates have voiced concern that Barrett could cast a vote for overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion nationwide. On the 7th Circuit, she has voted in favor of one of Trump’s hardline immigration policies, embraced gun rights and authored a ruling making it easier for college students accused of campus sexual assaults to sue their institutions.
“Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have made it clear they will pull out all the stops to jam through another right-wing Supreme Court nominee – even if that means breaking their own rule pertaining to election-year appointments,” Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said.
The White House ceremony was decorated with American flags arranged in a way similar to the day when President Bill Clinton nominated Ginsburg in 1993. There was tightly packed crowd at the ceremony, most not wearing masks despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Amy is expected to begin the traditional courtesy calls on individual senators on Tuesday. Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings will begin Oct. 12, Trump said.
Democrats are set to make the fate of the Obamacare healthcare law a key part of the confirmation fight.
Amy may be expected to be on the bench for the court’s Nov. 10 oral arguments in a case in which Trump and fellow Republicans are seeking to invalidate the 2010 law, formally called the Affordable Care Act.
“Justice Ginsburg must be turning over in her grave up in heaven,” top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said, “to see that the person they chose seems to be intent on undoing all the things that Ginsburg did.”