Donald Trump Nominates Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court 8 Days After Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Death
President Donald Trump announced Saturday he will nominate U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week.
Pending approval by the Republican-led Senate, Barrett will replace Ginsburg and bring the high court to a 6-3 conservative majority.
"This is my third such nomination," Trump said of his former nominees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. "It is a very proud moment indeed."
Before officially nominating Barrett, the president said, "She is a woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials and unyielding loyalty to the constitution."
Hours after Ginsburg died on Sept. 18, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed that Trump's nominee would receive a vote on the Senate floor ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
Since McConnell assured a vote on Trump's pick, lawmakers have engaged in a bitter partisan debate over what each side has criticized as "hypocrisy," following the Republican effort that blocked President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, from receiving a vote ahead of that year's election.
Republicans currently hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, while enough GOP lawmakers have indicated in recent days that they will vote in favor of the Trump nominee.
For the Republican Party, adding a sixth conservative Justice to the Supreme Court would be a major victory, as the GOP group risks losing control of the Senate and the White House in less than five weeks in the 2020 general election.
For the Democratic Party, Barrett's nomination would be something akin to rubbing salt in the wound, after Garland's nomination was blocked in 2016 and held off until Trump took office in January 2017.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who was winding down his second term as vice president when Garland's nomination was blocked by Republicans, said voting on Barrett's nomination before this year's general election would equate to "constitutional abuse."
"If Donald Trump wins the election, then the Senate should move on his selection and weigh the nominee he chooses fairly," Biden said last week. "But if I win this election, President Trump's nominee should be withdrawn. As the new president, I should be the one to nominate Justice Ginsburg's successor, a nominee who should get a fair hearing in the Senate."
If the nomination is not confirmed prior to the election, Republicans could still vote on Trump’s nominee during the “lame duck” session — the time between the election and Jan. 3, when the next Congress takes office.
If Biden wins the election, the Senate will have until Jan. 20, 2021, to approve Barrett's nomination. After then, Biden would have the option to name a nominee.