President Donald Trump plans to nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, according to several media reports.
Trump had indicated this week that Michigander Joan Larsen, who Trump nominated to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, was on his short list. Larsen was a GOP-nominated Michigan Supreme Court justice, first appointed by Republican former Gov. Rick Snyder. Washington Post conservative columnist Hugh Hewitt suggested picking Larsen would help Trump lock down the suburban women vote in November.
Federal Judge Barbara Lagoa of Florida also was reported to have been in the running for the nomination, with some conservatives arguing she would help Trump win the key state.
Barrett, 48, is a judge for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, Ill. She was appointed to the position by Trump in 2017 and previously worked as a professor at Notre Dame Law School and clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
She is a favorite among conservatives for her anti-abortion views.
The New York Times reported that Trump had selected Barrett but also said that “aides cautioned that Mr. Trump sometimes upends his own plans.”
A formal announcement is expected Saturday at the White House.
Ginsburg died Sept. 18 from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. On Friday she became the first Jewish person and woman to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol. Her dying wish was to be replaced by the next president.
The president and a majority of Republican senators have announced their plans to hold a confirmation hearing before November’s presidential election, producing outrage among Democrats.
Republican U.S. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have announced their objections to filling a Supreme Court vacancy before a new president is elected. But Republicans hold 53 seats in the Senate, and Supreme Court confirmation requires only a simple majority.
Both U.S. Sens. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) oppose Trump filling the vacancy. Peters is running for reelection in November and faces GOP nominee John James, who is the only Republican U.S. Senate candidate who has not taken a position on whether the chamber should vote on Trump’s pick, according to a Detroit Free Press fact check.
In 2016, with more than 100 days before the next presidential election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to hold hearings for Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s last nominee for the Supreme Court, arguing that the nomination should not be filled in an election year.