President Donald Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett as his choice to become the next Associate Justice to the Supreme Court. This is the third vacancy while Trump has been president.
Trump’s announcement Saturday is eight days after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Trump reflected on Ginsburg's passing, saying the country “mourned the loss of a true American legend. She was a legal giant and a pioneer for women.”
Barrett also spoke about Ginsburg and her legacy for women in the legal profession and all Americans.
She clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 1998 and 1999. Scalia and Ginsburg had a close friendship, despite their strong legal disagreements. Barrett talked about their relationship as a role model for being able to disagree on matters of law, while not attacking colleagues or getting personal.
Like Scalia, she is a committed Roman Catholic as well as a firm devotee of his favored interpretation of the Constitution known as originalism.
“Amy Coney Barrett will decide cases based on the constitution as written," President Trump said of his nominee.
“A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policy makers," Barrett said during Saturday's nomination event.
Her legal writings and speeches show a commitment to originalism, a concept that involves justices endeavoring to decipher original meanings of texts in assessing whether someone’s rights have been violated. Many liberals say that approach is too rigid and doesn’t allow the Constitution’s consequences to adjust to vastly changing times.
President Trump called on lawmakers to begin hearings to confirm Barrett, saying it should be a "straightforward and prompt" process. He called Barrett a "woman of unparalleled achievement” and "very eminently qualified for the job."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will vote "in the weeks ahead" on Barrett's nomination, according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, former vice president and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden released a statement Saturday calling on senators to wait until after the election to vote on the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice.
"The Senate should not act on this vacancy until after the American people select their next president and the next Congress," Biden's statement reads.
Barrett was previously confirmed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017, and at the time, her confirmation was supported by three democrats: Joe Donnelly, Tim Kaine and Joe Manchin.
Barrett has seven children, including two adopted from Haiti. Her husband, Jesse, and children were at the White House for Saturday's nomination ceremony.