Ns News Online Desk: President Trump will nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court, according to reports citing sources familiar with the process. The White House has indicated in conversations that Barrett was Trump’s intended choice to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg but cautioned that he could still change his mind, the sources told CNN.
Barrett was spotted Friday at her home in South Bend, Ind., but it’s unclear if she’s aware of Trump’s intentions, CNN said. The New York Times also reported Trump had made Coney Barrett his choice.
Supreme Court nominees are often informed of their selection at the last possible moment to maintain secrecy. Trump has repeatedly said that he was going to pick a woman and make a formal announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House at 5 p.m. Saturday.
The president said Monday that he was considering five women, including Coney Barrett and another federal appeals court judge, Barbara Lagoa. President Trump told reporters on Friday evening he had made up his mind on his Supreme Court nominee, but he refused to confirm that it was Coney Barrett.
“I haven’t said that,” Trump said after arriving back in DC from Florida. “I haven’t said it was her, but she is outstanding.”
If Barrett replaces Ginsburg, who was the Supreme Court’s leading liberal voice, she would give the conservative wing a 6-3 majority. At 48, she would also be the youngest member of the high court and could help maintain its conservative majority for decades.
The revelation of Trump’s reported intentions came just hours after Ginsburg’s body lay in state at the US Capitol, making her the first woman and the first Jewish person to receive the posthumous honor. Barrett was also reportedly on his shortlist to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018 after the jurist announced his retirement at age 81.
But Barrett’s White House interview didn’t go well, NPR reported Thursday, citing a source who said she had to wear dark glasses due to a case of conjunctivitis and was “not at her best.”
Trump ultimately nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, who was confirmed by a narrow 50-48 margin following a grueling, four-day hearing during which he emotionally denied Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that he sexually assaulted her while drunk at a party when they were teenagers.
A report last year in Axios suggested Trump still had big plans for Barrett, based on private comments he reportedly made to confidants while discussing Kennedy’s replacement. “I’m saving her for Ginsburg,” Trump said in remarks confirmed this week by NPR.