President Donald Trump at the White House on Saturday introduced federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrettas his Supreme Court nominee, setting off a confirmation battle that could secure a conservative court for generations.
“She is a woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect and sterling credentials and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution,” Trump said in remarks in the Rose Garden with Barrett standing at his side. Barrett’s husband, Jesse, and seven children were in the audience for the event, and took the stage with her at the conclusion.
The president said Barrett “will decide cases based on the text of the Constitution as written.”
Barrett, 48, who sits on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, is a favorite among conservatives for her anti-abortion views, and given her age could serve on the highest court in the land for decades—justices are appointed for life. Her confirmation would give conservatives six of the court’s nine seats, potentially shifting rulings considerably to the right.
“My fellow Americans, the president has nominated me to serve on the United States Supreme Court, and that institution belongs to all of us,” Barrett said to the crowd of about 150 in the Rose Garden. “If confirmed, I would not assume that role for the sake of those in my own circle, and certainly not for my own sake.”
She said she looked forward to the confirmation process.
“I have no illusions…the road ahead of me will be easy, either for the short term or the long haul,” she said.
Senate Republicans are scrambling to schedule what’s expected to be mid-October nomination hearings before the Judiciary Committee for Barrett. Outraged Democrats have pointed out that would amount to unprecedented speed, with only 37 days from Saturday until the presidential election on Nov. 3.
A White House pool report said that North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, a Republican and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was among those present in the Rose Garden, as were fellow GOP Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Hawley and Sasse also sit on the committee.
Trump said he expects the nomination process to be fairly quick.
“This should be a straightforward and prompt confirmation,” he said, adding, “Should be easy.”
Trump after his remarks was scheduled to head to a rally outside Harrisburg, Pa., scheduled for later Saturday.
Four years ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to hold a confirmation hearing for President Barack Obama’s last Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick Garland, arguing that the seat should not be filled in an election year. That nomination came 237 days before the 2016 presidential election.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, criticized Trump for nominating a Supreme Court Justice before a next president is selected.
“The United States Constitution was designed to give the voters one chance to have their voice heard on who serves on the Court,” Biden said in a statement.”The Senate should not act on this vacancy until after the American people select their next president and the next Congress.”
On average in recent decades it’s taken 43 days from the time of a president’s formal submission of a nominee to the Senate until the first public hearing, according to a Congressional Research Service report that looked at Supreme Court nominees from 1975 to 2018.
Barrett would replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18 at the age of 87 of complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. Read more