President Donald Trump on Saturday announced the controversial nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Barrett's nomination is a move that may cement a young, reliably conservative majority on the court for years to come.
The nomination looks to receive a significant amount of pushback from Senate Democrats, who claim that the nomination is illegitimate and unprecedented. However, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has claimed that he has the votes necessary to confirm Barrett's nomination.
Barrett is a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and was considered by Trump to fill the vacancy left by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018, although he eventually chose Justice Brett Kavanaugh instead. Axios reported last May that Trump was "saving her for Ginsburg," according to sources familiar with the president's deliberation process in 2018.
Prior to serving on the Court of Appeals, Barrett taught for many years at the University of Notre Dame Law School, which is her alma mater. Barrett also clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, whose strict textualism and originalism Barrett takes after.
In a highly divided country and with a nomination that may be extremely consequential, partisan allegiances have largely determined the reaction to Barrett's nomination.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham described Barrett as "highly qualified in all the areas that matter - character, integrity, intellect, and judicial disposition."
McConnell also praised Barrett in a statement, saying Trump "could not have made a better decision."
On the opposite side of the aisle, Democrats condemned Republicans as hypocrites for contradicting their opposition to Merrick Garland's nomination in 2016, another election year.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) described a vote to confirm Barrett as "a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions."
"By nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, President Trump has once again put Americans' healthcare in the crosshairs," he added.
A Fox News source familiar with the process reported that Oct. 12 is a possible date for the start of confirmation hearings. The nomination process starting in mid-October means that Barrett could potentially be confirmed just days before the election.
Trump has been open with sharing his desire to have all 9 Supreme Court seats filled before the election so the court can potentially make a final ruling. Democrats have criticized Trump for using the nomination process to increase the chance that the Supreme Court will rule in his favor and he will be re-elected.
Barrett's beliefs, specifically her anti-abortion stance, were flagged by Democrats during her 2017 confirmation hearing for the 7th Circuit.
A source told Fox News that Trump had taken note of how "tough" Barrett was after she endured the 2017 confirmation hearing