President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who passed away last week. If confirmed, Barrett would be the third Trump appointee to the high court in four years, and gives the court’s conservatives a 6-3 majority. Before Ginsburg’s passing, The Washington Post has pointed out that the relative 5-4 balance meant neither side could dominate. But the addition of one more conservative voice could swing outcomes along ideological lines.
In appointing Coney Barrett, Trump said live on MSNBC (via The New York Times), “I stand before you today to fulfill one of my highest and most important duties under the U.S. constitution, the nomination of a Supreme Court justice. This is my third such nomination after Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh, and it is a very proud moment indeed.”
He continued by paying tribute to the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, saying, “Over the last week our nation has mourned the loss of a true American legend. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a true legal giant and a pioneer for women. Her inspiring life and legacy will continue to inspire Americans for generations to come. Now we gather in the Rose Garden to continue our never-ending task of ensuring equal justice and preserving the impartial rule of law.”
Donald Trump revealed his pick a week after Ruth Bader Ginsburg's passing
Trump’s announcement comes after a week of public memorials for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who broke one more barrier by becoming the first woman and the first Jewish person to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. Her funeral takes place at Arlington National Cemetery next week (via The New York Times). Her granddaughter, Clara Spera told the BBC, “She dictated the following sentence to me: ‘My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,'” Spera said. “I read it back to her, she was very happy with that, and when I asked her, ‘Is that it? Is there anything else you’d like to say?’ She said, ‘The rest of my work is a matter of public record.’ So that was all she wanted to add.”
Trump later questioned the authenticity of Spera’s story on Fox and Friends. “I don’t know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff, and [Chuck] Schumer and [Nancy] Pelosi. I would be more inclined to the second, OK, you know, that came out of the wind, it sounds so beautiful. But that sounds like a Schumer deal or maybe a Pelosi or shifty Schiff,” he said, adding later, “I mean, maybe she did and maybe she didn’t” (via Politico).
Regardless, there has been much debate already over whether of not this 2020 nomination should even be considered, as the precedent set with Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in the 2016 election year did not result in another Obama nomination (via The New York Times).
Amy Coney Barrett's appointment divided social media
There was praise for Trump’s nomination, with one supporter pointing out, “The selection of #AmyConeyBarrett for #SCOTUS by @realDonaldTrump is an absolute home run. She’s an incredible jurist, a true originalist and someone who has lived an incredible life of service.” Another tweeted, “History in the making. This choice will outlast this president and the next 4-5 presidents (at least). This is easily the most consequential decision Pres Trump has made.”
Others came with a warning. “I don’t oppose #AmyConeyBarrett to the Supreme Court because of her religious beliefs. I oppose her because she seeks to impose her religious beliefs on me,” one tweeted. Another shared a Newsweek story featuring Amy Coney Barrett’s views on filling a vacant Supreme Court seat during an election year, saying “Don’t forget, #AmyConeyBarrett opposed filling a Supreme Court seat in an election year back in 2016 when it was Antonin Scalia’s… but now that she’s the nominee, she’s fine with it. #savescotus”
Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination now goes to the Senate for confirmation, which, judging by the division demonstrated by social media, will be contentious, to say the least.
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