Live Updates: Supreme Court Nomination Follow the latest updates on President Trump's nominee to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Supreme Court Nomination

Latest updates on Trump's pick to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, is meeting with senators this week ahead of her confirmation hearing, which is set to start on Oct. 12. Anna Moneymaker/Pool/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Anna Moneymaker/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, is meeting with senators this week ahead of her confirmation hearing, which is set to start on Oct. 12.

Anna Moneymaker/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's selection of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg came just 38 days before the presidential election on Nov. 3.

The move to have her on the court by then has ignited a major partisan battle on Capitol Hill.

Democrats have lambasted Trump and Republicans for moving forward with the nomination so close to the election, especially when the Republican-led Senate in 2016 refused to hold hearings for then-President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, nearly eight months before that year's election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says this year is different because Republicans control both the White House and the Senate.

"The Senate has more than sufficient time to process the nomination. History and precedent make that perfectly clear," he said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to begin hearings on Oct. 12. The committee is expected to vote on the nomination on Oct. 22, but the timing for voting on her nomination on the Senate floor is not yet settled.

What modern history shows

Only two justices since President Gerald Ford's administration in the 1970s have been confirmed in so quick a time: John Paul Stevens, confirmed 16 days after his nomination was sent to the Senate; and Sandra Day O'Connor, confirmed 33 days after her nomination was sent to the Senate.

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Chief Justice John Roberts is also considered to have had a short nomination process — but with a caveat: It was his second nomination. He was first nominated as an associate justice to fill the seat of O'Connor after she announced her retirement in July 2005.

However, after the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist two months later, Roberts' nomination was withdrawn and resubmitted to fill Rehnquist's seat. That second nomination process was short: only 24 days from the announcement to the final Senate vote.

What's the process?

After a president announces a nominee to the bench, the Senate Judiciary Committee does a background and credential check before undergoing a series of hearings, in which senators can ask the nominee questions about his or her experience and qualifications.

There can be lag time between when a president initially announces his nominee to the court and when the Senate officially receives the nomination. In the case of O'Connor, the distinction is especially important. President Ronald Reagan announced his intention to nominate O'Connor in early July of 1981 but it wasn't until mid-August that she was officially nominated, following a background check.

Some nominees have taken themselves out of the process, like Harriet Miers, who withdrew her name from consideration 24 days after being announced as President George W. Bush's nominee to fill O'Connor's seat.

After hearings, the Senate committee then sends the nomination to the full Senate for a vote, noting whether or not it does so with a recommendation.

One of the longest confirmation processes in recent history belongs to Justice Clarence Thomas, which took 106 days from the time he was initially announced to the Senate's final vote.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett looks over to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Susan Walsh/AP hide caption

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Susan Walsh/AP

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett looks over to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

Susan Walsh/AP

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court seat made vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has a relatively short record as a federal judge, but a long track record as a conservative lawyer and law professor.

Barrett met Tuesday with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Republican senators ahead of her confirmation hearing that begins Oct. 12. As part of the process, the Senate Judiciary Committee released a 65-page questionnaire Barrett answered, along with 1,800 pages of documents, 150 speeches and writings, and nearly 100 opinions she has written and more than 800 appeals in which she participated.

Here are highlights from the questionnaire:

The White House contacted Barrett a day after Ginsburg's death

Barrett says she received a call on Saturday, Sept. 19, from Pat Cipollone, counsel to the president, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to discuss the vacancy created by Ginsburg's death the previous day.

A day later, she says, the two men called her again and asked her to come to Washington. Trump called her later that day to confirm the invitation.

On Monday, Sept. 21, three days after Ginsburg's death, Barrett met with Trump, Vice President Pence, Cipollone and Meadows in Washington, where Trump offered her the nomination and she accepted — pending vetting.

What Barrett would recuse herself from

Barrett said she'd recuse herself from cases involving her husband, Jesse Barrett, and her sister Amanda Coney Williams, both attorneys. She also said she'd recuse herself from those cases involving Notre Dame, where she taught law, and from matters in which she participated in while a judge on the court of appeals.

But it is what's not in the list of recusals that's more interesting: Barrett did not say she would recuse herself from cases related to the outcome of November's presidential election.

Trump has made Barrett's confirmation a key election issue, noting that a full complement of nine justices should hear the case if the election is legally challenged. Senate Democrats have called for Barrett to publicly recuse herself from any election-related cases before the court because of Trump's comments. Her silence on the matter is likely to add to their uneasiness about her nomination.

Role in Bush v. Gore case

Barrett previously provided "briefing and research" assistance in Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court case that decided the 2000 election, while she worked as an associate at Baker Botts, the law firm that represented then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

"I worked on the case on location in Florida for about a week at the outset of the litigation," Barrett wrote in her questionnaire. "I worked with Stuart Levy, a partner at the firm, while the case was in Florida courts. I did not continue working on the case after my return to Washington."

The Supreme Court ultimately decided the case in Bush's favor.

Speaking engagements with conservative groups

Barrett has a long history of talking to conservative groups that share her philosophy.

Her questionnaire lists a total of 25 appearances before the conservative Federalist Society, whose leaders helped Trump screen his potential nominees for the Supreme Court, including this one. Sixteen of Barrett's Federalist Society appearances occurred after she became a federal judge in November 2017.

In terms of her other speaking engagements, she has spoken multiple times before the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, a Christian group run by the Alliance Defending Freedom, the organization that represented a funeral home in a pivotal LGBT employment-discrimination case that came before the Supreme Court in the 2019-2020 court term.

According to its website, the Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF, was founded in 1993 with the stated goal of advocating, training and funding legal cases on the issues of "religious freedom, sanctity of life, and marriage and family."

When asked in 2017 during her confirmation hearings for the 7th Circuit about her connection to the group and its anti-LGBTQ worldview, Barrett replied: "I would never impose my own personal convictions upon the law."

Previous disclosure forms show that between 2015 and 2017, when she became a judge, Barrett received $4,200 in honoraria from the ADF and $7,000 from the Federalist Society, and she went on 10 Federalist society-funded trips.

Fix The Court, a non-partisan judicial watchdog group, reports that Barrett's most recent financial disclosure form in 2019 listed investments of $3.1 million, in addition to her ownership of two homes in South Bend, Ind., one that she lives in with her family, and another that has, in the past, been rented out.

Sen. Ted Cruz Says Judge Amy Coney Barrett 'Will Make A Strong Justice'

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Sen. Ted Cruz, pictured on Capitol Hill on Sept. 24, tells NPR that Judge Amy Coney Barrett should not recuse herself from any Supreme Court decision on the election should she be confirmed. Susan Walsh/Pool/Getty Images hide caption

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Sen. Ted Cruz, pictured on Capitol Hill on Sept. 24, tells NPR that Judge Amy Coney Barrett should not recuse herself from any Supreme Court decision on the election should she be confirmed.

Susan Walsh/Pool/Getty Images

Senate Republicans plan to move forward with Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination with hearings before the Judiciary Committee starting Oct. 12.

Barrett's likely confirmation will lock in arguably the most conservative Supreme Court since the 1930s, with the potential to weaken patient protections of the Affordable Care Act and abortion rights in Roe v. Wade, among other decisions.

"I think she's a strong nominee," said Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who sits on the committee.

Barrett, a judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, has conservative views on abortion rights, the Affordable Care Act, guns and campus sexual assault issues. She clerked for the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, calling his "judicial philosophy ... mine, too."

Cruz told NPR's Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition that Barrett "has an impeccable background."

She has only been on the appeals court since 2017 after President Trump nominated her.

"I think she handled herself quite well" at confirmation hearings in 2017, Cruz said. "So I think she has strong attributes. My preference is always someone with a longer proven record. But I think she will make a strong justice."

Cruz said he believes that "Republicans have a much lousier record" historically than Democrats when it comes to appointing Supreme Court justices.

"Almost every Democratic nominee votes exactly as the Democratic president who appointed them would have wanted in virtually every case," Cruz said. But Republican nominees "bat .500 at best."

Too often, as Cruz argues in his new book, One Vote Away, justices appointed by Republican presidents violate "their oath of office and the Constitution" by switching to make what he views as liberal decisions.

Cruz writes in the book that having five conservative justices on the Supreme Court "can ensure the American experiment continues to thrive, but five liberal activist justices could fundamentally transform our Nation."

He adds, "And far more often than we should be comfortable with, we are
just one vote away from losing these fundamental rights and freedoms."

Barrett's likely confirmation will mean conservatives will have a 6-3 majority on the high court. Chief Justice John Roberts, who is considered a conservative, has in the past sided with the court's liberals in some controversial decisions, including to uphold the ACA. With Barrett's addition, a potential Roberts swing vote will no longer be enough to sway divided court decisions in liberals' favor.

The most pressing Supreme Court decision may come in November. Trump said he expects the election results to end up at the court and wants nine justices in place by then. Republican lawyers are on standby to file aggressive legal challenges around voting issues.

Cruz said he does not think Barrett should recuse herself from a court decision on the election should it come before her as a justice.

"The reason we need a fully functioning court is to have nine justices who can resolve any dispute and ensure that the law and Constitution are followed," Cruz told NPR.

A Supreme Court with eight justices, as it is now, "lacks the constitutional authority to decide anything," Cruz said. "And so we could have multiple conflicting opinions from multiple courts of appeals and weeks or months of chaos and uncertainty."

That differs from what Cruz said in 2016. After Scalia's death, Senate Republicans refused to consider President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, for most of the year.

"There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices," Cruz told reporters in October 2016.

Republicans now argue they were justified in their inaction because Obama was a Democrat while the Senate was GOP-controlled. This time, they say, both the White House and the Senate are held by Republicans.

Reena Advani and Jim Wildman produced the audio interview.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks Sunday about President Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks Sunday about President Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Sunday implored Senate Republicans not to act on President Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court until after the American people finish selecting their next president.

"There are Senate Republicans out there who know in their hearts that if they shut out the voices of those during a voting period, during an election, they're closing the door on American democracy thereafter," Biden said during a speech in his hometown of Wilmington, Del.

"I urge every senator to take a step back from the brink, take off the blinders of politics for just one critical moment, and stand up for the Constitution you swore to uphold," said Biden, a longtime former senator himself. "Just because you have the power to do something doesn't absolve you of your responsibility to do right by the American people. Uphold your constitutional duty, summon your conscience."

Biden argued that since voters have already begun participating in the democratic process through early-voting and casting their mail-in ballots, it's crucial to hold off on any consideration of a Supreme Court nominee until the election results are known.

"If we're going to call ourselves a democracy, their voices must be heard," Biden said.

The Democratic nominee also emphasized the proximity of Barrett's nomination to an upcoming case before the Supreme Court that challenges the Affordable Care Act.

Barrett could cast a pivotal vote in that decision, as she has previously criticized Chief Justice John Roberts for his reasoning in upholding the health care law.

"The Republican Party has been trying to eliminate [the ACA] for a decade. Twice already, the Supreme Court has upheld that law. And the Congress, expressing the popular will of the American people, has rejected President Trump's efforts as well," Biden said. "It should come as no surprise that on Saturday, President Trump would nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett and on Sunday lay out clearly what is objective is: to terminate Obamacare."

Trump tweeted Sunday morning that the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, would be replaced with a "cheaper alternative if it is terminated in the Supreme Court."

This isn't the first time Biden has asked Republican lawmakers to respect the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dying wish that she "not be replaced until a new president is installed."

Speaking in Philadelphia two days after Ginsburg's death, Biden called on a "handful" of Republicans to "follow your conscience."

On Sunday, Biden told reporters he hasn't reached out directly to any Senate Republicans, saying he didn't want to put them in a compromising position.

"I concluded that that would put them in a position if they were to vote the right way that they'd be compromised because I called them. I have great respect for a number of my former Republican colleagues and I'm hoping they will do the right thing."

Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin speaks during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Sept. 16. Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin speaks during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Sept. 16.

Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The second-highest ranking Senate Democrat conceded Sunday that his side can't halt Judge Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation to the nation's high court.

President Trump on Saturday nominated the 48-year-old Barrett to fill the vacancy left by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

"We can slow it down, perhaps a matter of hours, maybe days at the most. But we can't stop the outcome," Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said on ABC's This Week.

A Senate Republican aide has told NPR that confirmation hearings for Barrett are set to begin on Oct. 12.

Barrett's nomination and the resulting political repercussions dominated the Sunday political talk shows.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told NBC's Meet the Press he sees the Republicans scheduling a vote for Barrett as the "height of hypocrisy."

In 2016, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., successfully blocked then-President Barack Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, eight months before the election.

"Which precedent do you really believe in?" Booker asked. "Because you can't say one thing and then do another. Barack Obama was putting up a nominee 269 days before an election and now we see Donald Trump doing it while people are voting in the midst of an election."

But Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., doesn't see it that way.

"In 2018, we had about as clear a national referendum as we could," he told CNN, referencing the expansion of the Republican majority in the Senate, while neglecting the Democrats' victories in the House. "It was a clear mandate for a Republican Senate to continue confirming this president's outstanding judicial nominees — and that's what we're going to do to Judge Barrett next month."

Barrett is Trump's third Supreme Court nominee in three-plus years.

A new poll from The New York Times and Siena College on Sunday found that a majority of likely voters in this year's presidential election said that whoever wins the contest should nominate a justice.

Senate Judiciary Committee member John Kennedy, R-La., also defended the decision to proceed with Barrett's nomination, telling Fox News Sunday that the Constitution's provisions on Supreme Court vacancies are "unaffected by the electoral calendar."

"When the Democrats are in charge of the process, they do what they think is right, consistent with the Constitution," Kennedy said. "When the Republicans are in charge of the process, they do what they think is right."

He added: "We have a Republican president. We have a Republican Senate. If the shoe were on the other foot, I can assure you Sen. [Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer would do what the Republicans are doing right now."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told CNN's State of the Union that she's concerned about a case scheduled to be heard before the Supreme Court a week after the Nov. 3 election, on the Affordable Care Act.

"Anyone that President Trump would have appointed was there to undo the Affordable Care Act," Pelosi said. "That is why he was in such a hurry, so he could have someone in place for the oral arguments, which begin Nov. 10."

Barrett has previously criticized Chief Justice John Roberts for his reasoning in upholding the Affordable Care Act. If confirmed, Barrett's vote on the upcoming challenge to the ACA could be pivotal.

Durbin, the Senate minority whip who's also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he believes Barrett should recuse herself on any case brought before the court dealing with the results of the 2020 election.

"I certainly wish she would; it would really help matters and it would evidence the fact that she wants to be fair in addressing this," Durbin said. "To think that [Trump] would not accept the verdict of the election, and that he would make it clear that he's filling this vacancy on the Supreme Court to make sure it tips his way if there's any election contest, that is an outrage."

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, pictured on Sept. 15, said in a statement Saturday that the next president should fill the Supreme Court vacancy. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, pictured on Sept. 15, said in a statement Saturday that the next president should fill the Supreme Court vacancy.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In response to President Trump's nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, Democratic nominee Joe Biden urged Democrats to vote in the presidential election to protect the Affordable Care Act.

"Vote like your health care is on the ballot — because it is," Biden tweeted.

Congressional Democrats have signaled that's how they are going to try and fight Barrett's nomination.

"The American people should make no mistake—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 with pre-existing conditions," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement on Saturday.

In his own longer statement, Biden noted that voting is already underway in the United States, and referenced health care and other issues important to progressives.

"They are voting because their health care hangs in the balance," he said. "They are voting because they worry about losing their right to vote or being expelled from the only country they have ever known. They are voting right now because they fear losing their collective bargaining rights. They are voting to demand that equal justice be guaranteed for all. They are voting because they don't want Roe v. Wade, which has been the law of the land for nearly half a century, to be overturned."

Barrett, a textualist, was critical of John Roberts' logic in upholding the ACA.

"Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute," Barrett wrote in 2017. "He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power; had he treated the payment as the statute did — as a penalty — he would have had to invalidate the statute as lying beyond Congress's commerce power."

On abortion, Barrett has said she expected the Supreme Court would uphold the core of Roe v. Wade, giving women the right to an abortion, but she said she thought it was likely that restrictions would be increased.

But that was before Trump was elected and before the court became majority conservative, so it's not clear how far Barrett would go exactly.

Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, argued in their statements that a Supreme Court nominee should be left to whoever wins the presidency.

"Americans across the country are already casting votes, and we will soon know the president and senators who will be sworn in next January," said Harris, who also serves on the Judiciary Committee, which is is responsible for the hearings of court nominees. "We must respect Americans' voices and allow the winners of the election to nominate and confirm the next Supreme Court Justice."

Democrats especially feel that way because Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., refused to even hold a hearing for then-President Barack Obama's pick to replace the late-Justice Antonin Scalia on the court. Scalia died in February 2016, many more months ahead of that election than this vacancy.

"Just yesterday, I paid my respects to the legendary Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who devoted her life to fighting for Equal Justice Under Law and a more fair and just world," Harris added in her statement. "Her passing is devastating, and it would be a travesty to replace her with a justice who is being selected to undo her legacy and erase everything she did for our country."

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to begin Barrett's confirmation hearings on Oct. 12, an aide told NPR on Saturday.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., will lead the confirmation hearings for President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett. Carolyn Kaster/AP hide caption

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Carolyn Kaster/AP

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., will lead the confirmation hearings for President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump's nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on Oct. 12, according to a Senate Republican aide who is not authorized to speak on the record ahead of the official announcement.

The aide says the hearings will follow the same format as the recent ones – which means they are expected to last four days between opening statements, questions and testimony from outside witnesses.

The president's announcement comes just 38 days before the Nov. 3 election, and sets up an expedited timeline compared with most recent confirmation fights.

Barrett is expected to meet with members of the Judiciary Committee ahead of the hearings, but some Senate Democrats on the panel have indicated they will not privately meet with her and would only question her in public.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said after the president's announcement, "As the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I'm very committed to ensuring that the nominee gets a challenging, fair, and respectful hearing. We move forward on this nomination knowing that the President has picked a highly qualified individual who will serve our nation well on the highest court in the land."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has the support he needs to move ahead with the confirmation process and many Senate Republicans expect the floor vote to happen before the election, but the short window means the process has little room for any hiccups.

"I look forward to meeting with the nominee next week and will carefully study her record and credentials," McConnell said in a statement Saturday. He added, "As I have stated, this nomination will receive a vote on the Senate floor in the weeks ahead, following the work of the Judiciary Committee supervised by Chairman Graham."

President Trump has yet to formally name his Supreme Court nominee, but clues are piling up that he will pick Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

A source with knowledge of the process told NPR on Friday that Trump will nominate Barrett, with the caveat that the president is known to change his mind. The source was not authorized to confirm the selection before Trump does.

On Saturday morning, NBC News posted video of Barrett leaving her home in South Bend, Ind., with her husband and children, all dressed in formal attire.

Flight records show that a military Special Air Mission plane originating at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland landed at South Bend International Airport just after 11 a.m.

The plane took off about two hours later, heading back toward the Washington, D.C., region.

Trump has said he will announce his nomination at 5 p.m. ET. Watch the event live here.

President Trump visits the Supreme Court Thursday to pay respects, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in repose at the top of the front steps of the court. Pool/Getty Images hide caption

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Pool/Getty Images

President Trump visits the Supreme Court Thursday to pay respects, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in repose at the top of the front steps of the court.

Pool/Getty Images

Updated 5:54 p.m. ET

Saturday is a big day for the future of the country.

President Trump formally announced conservative federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Barrett, a former law professor at Notre Dame and Supreme Court law clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, said she would be a justice in Scalia's mold.

"His judicial philosophy is mine, too," Barrett said.

At 48, she would have a prominent role in reshaping American society and culture for generations.

But while that is a factor in Trump's decision, he has a more short-term concern — the upcoming elections.

"I think this will end up in the Supreme Court. And I think it's very important we have nine justices," Trump said Wednesday.

What's more, later in the day, he wouldn't commit to a peaceful transfer of power in response to a reporter's question.

"We're going to have to see what happens, you know, but I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots," Trump said, repeating his unfounded claim of widespread voter fraud. "The ballots are a disaster."

Responding to a follow-up question, Trump added, "Get rid of the ballots, and you'll have a very peaceful — there won't be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation."

When Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was asked about Trump's remarks, Biden asked facetiously, "What country are we in? Look, he says the most irrational things. I don't know what to say." Biden said in a later interview that Trump's comments were a "distraction" and that at the end of the day, if Trump loses, "he'll leave."

The White House tried to walk back Trump's comments, but on Thursday, Trump again questioned the legitimacy of the election because of mail-in ballots.

"We want to make sure the election is honest," he said, "and I'm not sure that it can be."

At a Friday night rally, Trump mocked the media for raising alarms about his comments. "Then they say, 'He doesn't want to turn over government' — of course I do. But it's got to be a fair election," he said, before rattling off a litany of complaints about mail-in voting in Democratic states.

"You know a real big problem? I like watching television, and have, 'The winner is.' You might not hear it for months, because this is a mess," he said, noting it could take a week or two to count mail-in ballots. "If we're waiting for one state, does that mean the whole nation — the whole world — is going to wait for one state?"

The New York Times reported Friday that "senior leaders at the Pentagon, speaking on the condition of anonymity, acknowledged that they were talking among themselves about what to do if Mr. Trump, who will still be president from Election Day to Inauguration Day, invokes the Insurrection Act and tries to send troops into the streets, as he threatened to do during the protests against police brutality and systemic racism."

It can be hard to know when Trump is being serious or just trying to get attention and troll the left and the news media. But voting is underway this election, and nothing should be surprising in these next five weeks — or beyond.

Listen to special coverage of Trump's Supreme Court announcement

President Trump announces his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, in the Rose Garden of the White House on Saturday. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announces his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, in the Rose Garden of the White House on Saturday.

Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

President Trump says he will nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, spurring what's likely to be a bitter confirmation fight just weeks before the presidential election.

If confirmed by the Senate, the 48-year-old judge will solidify the court's conservative majority, shaping the trajectory of health care law, abortion rights and many corners of American life for generations to come.

From a White House Rose Garden draped with flags, Trump called nominating a Supreme Court justice one of the most important duties of his office and praised Barrett as a "one of our nation's most brilliant legal minds."

Cheers rippled through the crowd of about 200 people when Trump finally said Barrett's name.

"This should be a straightforward and prompt confirmation," Trump said. "Should be very easy. Good luck. It's going to be very quick. I'm sure it will be extremely noncontroversial. We said that the last time, didn't we?"

(Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's previous Supreme Court nominee, was subjected to extra scrutiny by the public and Senate Democrats because of a sexual assault allegation.)

Barrett began her speech acknowledging the shoes she is being asked to fill, calling Ginsburg a "woman of enormous talent and consequence" who not only cracked, but "smashed" glass ceilings and won the admiration of women around the world.

The judge said she has been inspired by Ginsburg's close relationship with Antonin Scalia, the late conservative justice for whom Barrett once clerked.

"His judicial philosophy is mine, too," Barrett said as Scalia's wife and son looked on from the audience. "A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold."

In introducing his nominee, Trump linked the weight of a Supreme Court appointment with a message he touts on the campaign trail, calling "law and order" the foundation of the U.S. justice system.

"The stakes for our country are incredibly high," Trump said. "Rulings that the Supreme Court will issue in the coming years will decide the survival of our Second Amendment, our religious liberty, our public safety and so much more. To maintain security, liberty and prosperity, we must maintain our priceless heritage of a nation of laws and there is no one better to do that than Amy Coney Barrett."

Barrett also introduced her husband and seven children, who were seated in the audience, joking that it makes sense that Trump is nominating her to join a bench of nine justices.

"As it happens, I'm used to being in a group of nine: my family," Barrett said, telling the audience that in addition to federal judge, she wears other hats: carpool driver, birthday party planner and, recently, teacher, as her children attend school remotely because of the pandemic.

Barrett also seemed to acknowledge the charged political moment she's stepping into, saying she has "no illusions that the road ahead for me will be easy."

"The president has nominated me to serve on the United States Supreme Court, and that institution belongs to all of us. If confirmed, I would not assume that role for the sake of those in my own circle and certainly not for my own sake. I would assume this role to serve you. I would discharge the judicial oath, which requires me to administer justice without respect to persons, do equal right to the poor and rich, and faithfully and impartially discharge my duties under the United States Constitution."

Trump appointed Barrett to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago just three years ago. Before that, she taught law at the University of Notre Dame for 15 years and had clerked for Scalia, widely seen by conservatives as a legal legend.

Barrett is admired by conservatives for her positions on abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. A devout Catholic, she is also a favorite of religious conservatives. At 48, Barrett would be the youngest justice on the Supreme Court if confirmed, allowing her to potentially shape American law and society for generations.

Within hours of Ginsburg's death last Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pledged to bring Trump's nominee for a vote on the Senate floor. The president has made clear he wants his nominee approved by Election Day, predicting that the results of the presidential election may end up in front of the Supreme Court.

Democrats, including presidential nominee Joe Biden, say whoever wins in November should pick the next justice, citing McConnell's successful effort in 2016 to block President Barack Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, about eight months before the election. Now, Trump is setting up a Supreme Court fight just over a month before the 2020 election.

While Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have said they do not support a vote on a nominee before the election, other Republican senators considered to be potential swing votes, including Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, announced they would support moving forward with a Supreme Court confirmation.

That support likely gives Trump the votes he will need to get his nominee on the bench. Still, Capitol Hill is bracing for a high-stakes political battle in the weeks and even days leading up to the election, spilling onto the campaign trail both in the presidential contest and for several tight Senate races.

A Senate Republican aide told NPR on Saturday that confirmation hearings are set to begin on Oct. 12 and last four days.

The Democrats have already been framing the nomination as a battle to preserve health care — with a major challenge to the Affordable Care Act on the court's schedule this fall — while Republicans see abortion as a salient issue to bolster support for Trump's filling the seat as soon as possible.

Trump began promoting his forthcoming nomination the day after the court announced Ginsburg had died. During a rally in North Carolina last Saturday night, Trump promised to pick a woman for the seat, a nod to Ginsburg's lifelong efforts to promote the equality of women under the law.

This week, thousands of mourners lined up outside the Supreme Court where Ginsburg's casket lay in repose at the top of the court's marble steps. On Friday, Ginsburg lay in state inside the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall, the first woman and the first Jewish American to receive such an honor.

Ginsburg will be buried at Arlington Cemetery on Tuesday, following the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, pictured in 2018, is 48 years old and would likely serve for decades to come on the high court if confirmed by the Senate. Rachel Malehorn/rachelmalehorn.smugmug.com via AP hide caption

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Rachel Malehorn/rachelmalehorn.smugmug.com via AP

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, pictured in 2018, is 48 years old and would likely serve for decades to come on the high court if confirmed by the Senate.

Rachel Malehorn/rachelmalehorn.smugmug.com via AP

Republicans expect President Trump to name Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the next nominee to the Supreme Court, according to a source with knowledge of the process, but the source cautioned that Trump could change his mind.

The source declined to be named, because the individual was not authorized to confirm the selection before the president announced it.

The White House declined comment.

Trump told reporters on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Friday that he had made a decision on whom he would nominate to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg but said that "we have not made our intentions felt."

He added that he did not meet with Judge Barbara Lagoa, who was also under consideration to replace Ginsburg, during his trip to Miami and Atlanta.

Barrett, who has served on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago for three years, has a clear conservative record. If confirmed, the 48-year-old would become the youngest justice on the Supreme Court and would likely serve for decades to come.

Barrett is widely admired among conservatives for her views against abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act.

Trump considered Barrett to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy when he retired in 2018 but instead chose Brett Kavanaugh, reportedly saying he was "saving" Barrett for Ginsburg's seat, should she die or retire during his presidency.

Trump nominated Barrett to the federal bench in 2017. As a federal judge, she has written about 100 opinions, accumulating a judicial record on issues such as guns, abortion rights and campus sexual assault that conservatives have lauded.

Before her ascent to the federal bench, Barrett taught law for 15 years at the University of Notre Dame, where she graduated from law school. She also clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative legend on the court, who like Barrett does, subscribed to an "originalist" or "textualist" judicial philosophy in which constitutional questions are considered through the lens of the framers' original intent.

Democrats have raised concerns about how Barrett's devout Catholic faith may influence her interpretation of legal issues such as abortion rights. Democrats raising that issue in Barrett's confirmation hearing to the appellate bench drew hackles from Republicans; Barrett said she would not let her religion interfere with her actions as a judge.

Barrett's stance on abortion and the landmark decision Roe v. Wade are likely to play a prominent role in her confirmation hearing to the high court. In the past, Barrett has said she could envision the court upholding the basic right to an abortion but chipping away at the precedent in a way that would give states leeway to make it harder to obtain one.

But that was before Trump's election and before the court became majority conservative. If the Senate confirms Barrett to replace Ginsburg, conservatives would solidify their majority at 6-3 and could potentially make a more sweeping ruling on abortion or the Affordable Care Act, which has twice been preserved by the swing vote of Chief Justice John Roberts.

Democrats are framing the fight over the Supreme Court seat as primarily a battle to preserve health care, namely under the Affordable Care Act. Health care was a winning issue for Democrats during the 2018 midterms, and the party now hopes that issue can help galvanize opposition to Trump's pick.

Trump and the Republicans want to vote on a nominee before Election Day and began promising to hold a vote without delay shortly after the court announced Ginsburg had died. Trump said this week that he wants his nominee confirmed before the election, predicting that the result may come down to a decision before the Supreme Court, as it did in 2000.

But Democrats point to the successful efforts of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to block President Barack Obama's nomination to the court, Merrick Garland, in 2016 because the vacancy came up too close to the election. Now, Democrats, including Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, say Republicans should follow the precedent they set back then and allow whoever wins the 2020 election to nominate Ginsburg's successor.

Despite early signals from Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski that they would join Democrats in opposing a vote before the election, enough Republicans have said they would likely support a vote on Trump's selection, paving the way for the president to put a third justice on the court after just four years in office.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, pictured at the White House on Saturday, is President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, pictured at the White House on Saturday, is President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court.

Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Updated Saturday at 5:22 p.m. ET

President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, is a judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and is a favorite among social conservatives. They, and others on the right, view her record as anti-abortion rights and hostile to the Affordable Care Act.

If confirmed, the 48-year-old Barrett would be the youngest justice on the Supreme Court and could help reshape the law and society for generations to come.

When Justice Anthony Kennedy retired from the court in 2018, President Trump passed over Barrett, giving the nod instead to then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh. At the time, Trump told Barrett supporters that he was "saving" her to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat, should the justice retire or die, sources say.

Behind the scenes, though, Barrett's interview with Trump then did not go particularly well, say sources close to the process but who are not authorized to speak publicly. She had conjunctivitis, had to wear dark glasses during the interview and was "not at her best," as one source put it.

But this week, Barrett's interview seems to have gone far better. Moreover, these sources say, she has the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who views her as a judge with a clearly proven conservative track record.

What kind of judge would Barrett be?

Barrett was raised in Metairie, La., a suburb of New Orleans. Her father, Mike, was an attorney for Shell Oil, and her mother was a stay-at-home mom. Barrett attended St. Mary's Dominican High School for girls, then graduated with honors from Rhodes College, a Presbyterian-affiliated school in Tennessee, followed by graduation, summa cum laude, from Notre Dame Law School.

She clerked for the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, and during her clerkships, she was nicknamed "The Conenator" by fellow law clerks "for destroying flimsy legal arguments," the Chicago Tribune reported.

Afterward, Barrett briefly practiced law and then taught for 15 years at Notre Dame Law School in South Bend, Ind.

She is married to Jesse Barrett, a former prosecutor now in private practice, and the couple have seven children, one with Down syndrome and two adopted from Haiti. They live in South Bend, and she commutes to Chicago — almost an hour and 45 minutes away — where the appeals court sits.

Barrett has been a federal judge for three years. She has written about 100 opinions and "several telling dissents in which Barrett displayed her clear and consistent conservative bent," The Associated Press noted of her judicial record.

From guns and sexual assault on campus to health care and abortion rights, Barrett has shown herself to be a conservative jurist and legal thinker in her rulings and academic writings.

"The dogma lives loudly within you"

Barrett's confirmation hearing for the appeals court in 2017 raised hackles on both the right and the left.

The left saw Barrett as a socially conservative mirror image of Scalia, famous for his conservative approach to constitutional interpretation and passionate dissents from the high court's abortion- and gay-rights rulings. Barrett, like Scalia, is seen as an "originalist" or "textualist." It's a philosophy that looks strictly at the text of the Constitution or statute and tries to apply original intention from the framers.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, in particular, infuriated Republicans when she ticked off a list of the nominee's writings and speeches about faith and the law.

"The dogma lives loudly within you, and that's of concern," Feinstein told the nominee.

Barrett responded, "If you're asking whether I take my Catholic faith seriously, I do, though I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge."

Republicans charged that Feinstein's question betrayed an anti-Catholic bias, and Barrett was confirmed by a 55-43 vote, with three Democrats voting in favor of confirmation, and two not voting.

Barrett is a member of a particularly conservative Christian faith group, People of Praise. Newsweek reported that the group "teaches that husbands should assume authority as the head of the household." (Her parents are also members, and her father was a coordinator of the group's Southern chapters.)

The New York Times reported that People of Praise "grew out of the Catholic charismatic renewal movement that began in the late 1960s and adopted Pentecostal practices such as speaking in tongues, belief in prophecy and divine healing."

If confirmed for the Supreme Court, Barrett would be the sixth Catholic justice. All but Sonia Sotomayor were nominated by Republican presidents. Justice Neil Gorsuch was raised Catholic but now lists himself as Episcopalian. Two other justices — Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan — are Jewish.

Barrett has also received thousands of dollars in honoraria for appearances from the Alliance Defending Freedom, according to a 2017 financial disclosure posted by Fix the Court, a group that seeks to reform the Supreme Court and federal court system, advocating for term limits and cameras in the courtroom.

ADF describes itself as advocating "for religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, freedom of speech, and marriage and family." ADF represented Jack Phillips, who owns Masterpiece Cake shop and declined to bake a cake for a same-sex couple celebrating their marriage.

Barrett reported receiving $4,200 from ADF in the disclosure, which covers 2016 through the first four months of 2017.

Barrett has been critical of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's 1973 abortion decision, but in 2016, she suggested that the court most likely would hollow out the decision, leaving the basic right to abortion in place, but allowing states wide latitude to make abortion difficult to obtain.

"I don't think the core case, Roe's core holding that women have a right to an abortion, I don't think that would change," Barrett said in a discussion at Jacksonville University. "But I think the question of whether people can get very late-term abortions, you know, how many restrictions can be put on clinics, I think that will change."

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That, however, was before Trump's election and the composition of the court moved more starkly to the right, making the outright reversal of Roe more plausible.

Similarly, the future of Obamacare could be at stake with Barrett's nomination. The court is scheduled to hear a third challenge to the law the week after the election. Twice before the court has upheld much of the law, but that could change now, with a possible Barrett vote pivotal.

Indeed, she criticized Chief Justice John Roberts' reasoning in upholding the Affordable Care Act.

"Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute," Barrett wrote in 2017. "He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power; had he treated the payment as the statute did — as a penalty — he would have had to invalidate the statute as lying beyond Congress's commerce power."

Precedent

In her academic work, Barrett has written dismissively about the doctrine of respecting the Supreme Court's precedents, known as stare decisis.

"I tend to agree with those who say that a justice's duty is to the Constitution and that it is thus more legitimate for her to enforce her best understanding of the Constitution rather than a precedent she thinks clearly in conflict with it," she wrote in a 2013 law review article.

The sun rises behind the Supreme Court on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Patrick Semansky/AP hide caption

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Patrick Semansky/AP

The sun rises behind the Supreme Court on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

Patrick Semansky/AP

Guns

While on the 7th Circuit, Barrett wrote that the Second Amendment did not necessarily ban people convicted of felonies from owning a gun. She declared a Wisconsin law, barring anyone convicted of a felony even if they aren't convicted of a violent crime, to be unconstitutional.

"[L]egislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns. But that power extends only to people who are dangerous," Barrett wrote in a 37-page dissent.

Her reliance on originalism also came through a few lines later: "In 1791 — and for well more than a century afterward — legislatures disqualified categories of people from the right to bear arms only when they judged that doing so was necessary to protect the public safety."

Immigration

Barrett voted to uphold the Trump administration's "public charge" rule, which "adds barriers for immigrants seeking green cards if they rely on public benefits, food stamps or housing vouchers," Courthouse News Service reported.

The 7th Circuit blocked the administration's ability to enforce its interpretation of the public charge rule in Illinois. Barrett wrote in a dissent that the Department of Homeland Security's definition is not "unreasonable," especially considering that "the text of the current statute ... was amended in 1996 to increase the bite of the public charge determination."

Supreme Court Nomination

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