Donald Trump picks conservative Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg in US Supreme Court
If confirmed, the balance of power in the 9-member court would shift in favour of the Republicans by 6-3.
United States President Donald Trump on Saturday nominated conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court as a replacement to former liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on September 18, Reuters reported.
The move came amid Democrats’ opposition to the nomination before the presidential elections on November 3. If Barrett is confirmed as a replacement of Ginsburg, the balance of power in the 9-member Supreme Court would shift in the favour of the Republicans by 6-3. This may prove advantageous to Trump as the US president has already said that he wishes to confirm a replacement for Ginsburg because he expects the result of the elections to end up in the Supreme Court, according to The New York Times.
Before her death, Ginsburg had reportedly said that she wanted her replacement to be chosen after the election, by the next president.
As the Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, Barrett’s confirmation is almost certain, although Democrats may create hurdles in the process.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has urged the Senate not to “act on this vacancy until after the American people select their next president and the next Congress”.
“The United States Constitution was designed to give the voters one chance to have their voice heard on who serves on the Court,” Biden said. “That moment is now and their voice should be heard.”
While nominating Barrett, Trump said, “Today, it is my honour to nominate one of our nation’s most brilliant and gifted legal minds to the Supreme Court.” He said that Barrett would be the first mother of school-age children ever among the court’s judges and called her “an extraordinary scholar” who would protect people’s “God-given rights and freedoms.” “She should be running for president,” Trump added.
Barrett praised Ginsburg, saying she was “a woman of enormous talent and consequence”.
“I will be mindful of who came before me,” she said, referring to Ginsburg, according to AP. “She not only broke glass ceilings; she smashed them.”
However, she also spoke about how her philosophy was the opposite of Ginsburg, while comparing it to departed conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Barrett previously worked as a clerk for Scalia and called him her mentor.
Barrett has been described as a devout Roman Catholic, who believes “life begins at conception”, according to BBC. Many fear that her confirmation as a Supreme Court judge could lead to the curbing of abortion rights, a widely-debated issued in the United States.
Barrett has also ruled in favour of Trump’s immigration policies and spoken for expansive gun rights. Conservatives also hope that she would rule against the Affordable Care Act, a health insurance scheme introduced by former President Barack Obama.
“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,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.
Judge Barrett, however, said her verdicts would be based only on the law. “Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy view they might hold,” she said.
Barrett is the third judge to be nominated to the Supreme Court by Trump, including Neil Gorsuch in 2017, and Brett Kavanaugh – accused of sexual assault by multiple women – in 2018.