Sept. 26 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Saturday nominated conservative jurist Amy Coney Barrett to succeed feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Amy is more than a fantastic scholar and judge. She is a profoundly devoted mother. It is a core part of who she is,” Trump said at a Saturday-afternoon address at the White House Rose Garden, adding that she would be the first Supreme Court justice in history to be the mother of school-aged children.
“This should be a straightforward and prompt confirmation. This should be very easy. It should be very quick. I’m sure it will be extremely non-controversial. We said that last time, didn’t we?” he said.
The last Trump-nominated Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh, was confirmed by a razor-thin margin in October 2018 after contentious hearings that stalled amid allegations that Kavanaugh had assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in high school.
Barrett also briefly took the stage Saturday, describing her predecessor as “an inspiration to us all” and saying she found inspiration in Ginsburg’s friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom Barrett served as a clerk early in her career.
“These two great Americans demonstrated that arguments even based on matters of great consequence need not destroy relationships,” Barrett said.
Of Scalia, she said, “His judicial philosophy is mine too: a judge must apply the law as written. Judges must not be policymakers.”
Barrett, 48, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, is a devout Catholic who opposes abortion. Should she be confirmed, she would give the court an even greater conservative majority at 6-3.
Ginsburg died of cancer at age 87 on Sept. 18. She had served on the high court since 1993, capping a career of fighting for gender equality.
Barrett, who grew up in Metairie, La., was nominated to the appeals court in 2017 after 15 years of teaching law at the University of Notre Dame, where she also earned her law degree. She clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and considers him a mentor, according to The Washington Post.
Barrett and her husband, Jesse Barrett, have seven children under 20; two were adopted from Haiti and one has Down syndrome. They live in South Bend, Ind.
The New York Times reported in 2017 that Barrett is a member of People of Praise, a small Christian group that requires a loyalty oath to a personal adviser. She is also a member of the conservative Federalist Society.
During her Senate confirmation hearing to the appeals court in 2016, Barrett was grilled about her past statements about religion.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D- Calif., said, “I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.”
Feinstein’s remark prompted conservative backlash.
Democrats fear Barrett’s faith will lead to bias in consideration of cases challenging to Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he plans to hold a floor vote on Trump’s nominee before the Nov. 3 election, over objections from Democrats and some Republicans.
Shortly before her death, Ginsburg expressed her wish that the president elected in November choose her replacement.
McConnell blocked hearings for former President Barack Obama’s nominee after the death of Scalia about nine months before the 2016 election on the grounds that “the people should have a voice.”