Tue | Oct 27, 2020

Trump nominates Barrett to Supreme Court

Published:Saturday | September 26, 2020 | 6:40 PMAP
Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks after President Donald Trump announced her as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House today (AP Photo).

(AP): President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, capping a dramatic reshaping of the federal judiciary that will resonate for a generation and that he hopes will provide a needed boost to his re-election effort.

Barrett, a former clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, said she was “truly humbled” by the nomination and quickly aligned herself with Scalia’s conservative approach to the law, saying his “judicial philosophy is mine, too.”

Barrett, 48, was joined in the Rose Garden by her husband and seven children. If confirmed by the Senate, she would fill the seat vacated by liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It would be the sharpest ideological swing since Clarence Thomas replaced Justice Thurgood Marshall nearly three decades ago.

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.

Trump hailed Barrett as “a woman of remarkable intellect and character,” saying he had studied her record closely before making the pick.

Republican senators are lining up for a swift confirmation of Barrett ahead of the November 3 election, as they aim to lock in conservative gains in the federal judiciary before a potential transition of power. Trump, meanwhile, is hoping the nomination will galvanise his supporters as he looks to fend off Democrat Joe Biden.

Nomination may bring Trump's first term full circle

For Trump, whose 2016 victory hinged in large part on reluctant support from white evangelicals on the promise of filling Scalia’s seat with a conservative, the latest nomination in some ways brings his first term full circle. Even before Ginsburg’s death, Trump was running on having confirmed in excess of 200 federal judges, fulfilling a generational aim of conservative legal activists.

Trump joked that the confirmation process ahead “should be easy” and “extremely non-controversial,” though it is likely to be anything but. No court nominee has been considered so close to a presidential election before, with early voting already underway. He encouraged legislators to take up her nomination swiftly and asked Democrats to “refrain from personal and partisan attacks.”

In 2016, Republicans blocked Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court to fill the election-year vacancy, saying voters should have a say in the lifetime appointment. Senate Republicans say they will move ahead this time, arguing the circumstances are different now that the White House and Senate are controlled by the same party.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will vote “in the weeks ahead” on Barrett’s confirmation. Hearings are set to begin October 12.

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