United States President Donald Trump on Saturday announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee for the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last week.
Justice Ginsburg died on September 18, 2020, from complications from cancer.
Announcing Ginsburg’s nomination, Trump said, “She is a woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials, and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution.”
“I looked and I studied and you are very eminently qualified for this job.”
In brief remarks, Barrett honored Ginsburg’s memory.
“She was a woman of enormous talent and consequence, and her life of public service serves as an example to us all,” Barrett said.
“I fully understand that this is a momentous decision for a president, and if the Senate does me the honor of confirming me, I pledge to discharge the responsibilities of this job to the very best of my ability.
“I love the United States and I love the United States Constitution. I am truly humbled by the prospect of serving on the Supreme Court.”
Barrett also said that she would be committed to working on behalf of the people if confirmed to the court.
“I would not assume that role for the sake of those in my own circle and certainly not for my own sake. I would assume this role to serve you,” Barrett said.
The nomination leaves the Republican-controlled Senate little time if they opt to confirm the nominee ahead of Election Day in November.
Senate Judiciary chair and Republican, Lindsey Graham, announced late Saturday that confirmation hearings would begin on October 12.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate will vote on Trump’s nominee, four years after he blocked former President Barrack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the apex court because the vacancy occurred in an election year.
In a statement on Saturday, McConnell said that the Senate “will evaluate this nomination on the basis of Judge Barrett’s objective qualifications.”
Democrats have kicked against confirming the nomination before November’s general election.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer critiqued Barrett’s record, saying “a vote by any Senator for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.”
“This reprehensible power grab is a cynical attack on the legitimacy of the court. I will strongly oppose this nomination,” Schumer said.
In a statement, Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, also highlighted Barrett’s apparent opposition to the ACA and criticised Senate Republicans for holding a confirmation vote ahead of Election Day.
“The American people know the U.S. Supreme Court decisions affect their everyday lives. The United States Constitution was designed to give the voters one chance to have their voice heard on who serves on the Court. 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,” Biden said.
If confirmed, Barrett will be the third justice nominated by Trump and appointed to the Supreme Court. It would also expand the conservative majority on the court, widening it to 6 to 3.