Multiple outlets reported late Friday afternoon, September 25, that President Donald Trump will announce Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
Citing multiple high-level Republican sources with knowledge of the process, CNN said that, although Trump still has time to change his mind before the planned announcement Saturday, at least one source told them that “the machinery is in motion.”
Later on Friday, CBS News also confirmed the CNN report.
Trump said at a rally in Newport News, Virginia, Friday night that he would make his announcement from the White House at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Trump Has Vowed His Nominee Will Be a Woman & Barrett Has Been the Most Likely Choice, Per Multiple Reports
“I will be putting forth a nominee next week. It will be a woman,” Trump said. “I think it should be a woman because I actually like women much more than men.”
At the top of Trump’s shortlist of nominees is Barrett, 48.
CNN reported that she was Trump’s top choice all week, and is the only nominee known to have met with the president. Trump and Barrett met already in the run-up to Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, the outlet added.
Barrett has sat on the U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th District, since October 2017 and has taught law at Notre Dame Law School since 2002, according to her faculty profile at Notre Dame.
Barrett is a practicing Catholic and strongly anti-abortion. Democrats have publicly expressed fear that she could help push to roll back abortion and women’s rights — issues Ginsburg fought for throughout her life. Her originalist approach to the Constitution also has worried liberal lawmakers, the Associated Press reported.
Barrett Has Faced Scrutiny This Week Over Her Membership to the Controversial Independent Catholic Group People of Praise
Barrett belongs to a Catholic parachurch group called People of Praise, according to multiple reports. The group has been singled out by critics of the potential nominee in the past weeks over its views, some of which resemble evangelical and fundamentalist Christian beliefs, including speaking in tongues, Mother Jones reported.
Several former members of the group, including Coral Anika Theill, have described it as a cult. Theill specifically said she experienced “abuse and torture” by her husband, as well as leaders of the group.
Women leaders in the group were called “handmaids,” and although the term is no longer used, according to the National Catholic Register, several outlets have claimed that it inspired Margaret Atwood’s dystopian horror novel The Handmaid’s Tale.
Walter Matthews, a former member of the group and a leader at the National Service Committee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement, told the NCR that misconceptions abound about People of Praise, and that people often mistake it for a cult because members sometimes sell their homes and move to be closer to their faith community.
Barrett Is Anti-Abortion, But Said in 2017 That She Doesn’t Think Roe V. Wade’s ‘Core Case’ Will Change
Under Senate questioning during her nomination process to become a federal judge, Barrett confirmed to Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse that she believed that abortion is “always immoral,” although she qualified her answer.
“If I am confirmed, my views on this or any other question will have no bearing on the discharge of my duties as a judge,” Barrett said.
She also said publicly in 2017 that she didn’t expect Roe v. Wade to be overturned in its entirety, but implied that the court may step in as far as government funding for abortions and late-term abortions.
“I don’t think the core case — Roe’s holding that women have a right to abortion — I don’t think that will change,” she said.
Still, her stance on abortion has been of great concern among Democratic lawmakers and commentators, who have warned that she will tip the court’s majority, setting the stage for overturning the 1973 decision. Economist and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich also warned Friday that Barrett would be hostile to LGBTQ+ rights and gut environmental regulations.
“Make no mistake: Amy Coney Barrett would lock in a majority to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Reich said. “She’ll gut what’s left of our campaign finance laws and voting rights protections. Environmental protections, immigrant rights, LGBTQ+ rights and limits on corporate power would all disappear.”
Conservatives, including The Federalist’s editors, have praised Barrett, meanwhile, as a constitutional originalist and sharp legal mind. “And yes, she’s a role model for women and girls,” a Federalist op-ed by Bridget Bush read on Friday. “But she doesn’t deserve this nomination because of her sex. She deserves it because she is the best choice.”
House Republicans, including Congressmen Andy Biggs, Steve King and Peter King, wrote to Trump Wednesday urging him to nominate Barrett.
“We are confident that Judge Barrett, if nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court, will respect and defend the original text of the US. Constitution, as intended by America’s founding fathers,” the letter, obtained by Fox News, read. “Her presence and critical vote on our nation’s highest court will help restore the balance of the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
Trump plans to announce his nominee on Saturday, September 26, at 5 p.m.