President Donald Trump formally announced Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a move that will solidify the high court’s turn to the right.
An appellate judge since 2017, Barrett appeared at a White House ceremony on Saturday along with her husband Jesse and her seven children. Her selection all but certain after reporters staked outside her Indiana home observed her and her family leaving and then tracked a flight from South Bend, IN to Washington.
If confirmed, Barrett will be the sixth conservative on the court, and could be a deciding vote when the justices hear oral arguments on Nov. 10 on a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, a fact that Democrats plan to highlight in the final weeks of the presidential election. She had criticized Chief Justice John Roberts 2012 opinion that upheld the health care law.
At Barrett’s confirmation hearing, expected to start the second week of October, she will likely face questions on whether she would overturn Roe Vs. Wade, as she has previously voted in favor of restrictions.
The most contentious flashpoint of her nomination is that she will be appearing at all before Senate hearings, given that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had blocked President Barack Obama’s nomination on the grounds that a vacancy occurred in an election year. Obama had nominated Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy following the death of Antonin Scalia in February, 2016, but McConnell refused even to give his nominee a hearing.
Trump’s choice of Barrett was widely seen as a way to shore up support among social conservatives, but also women. At the ceremony, he noted that Barrett would be the first female justice on the court who has school age children.