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President Donald Trump plans to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Saturday, a senior White House official confirmed to PBS NewsHour.
Barrett has sat on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago since 2017, a position to which she was nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate in a similar process to the one she would face as a Supreme Court nominee.
If confirmed, Barrett will take the seat left vacant by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died at the age of 87 last Friday. But Barrett is likely to face a contentious confirmation battle. Democrats in the Senate are strongly opposed to holding hearings on a new justice before the election, and Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, have also said the winner of the presidential election should be allowed to make the nomination.
However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has made clear he intends to hold a vote on whomever Trump nominates.
Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told committee Democrats in a letter this week he believes it is important to process any nomination by Trump “expeditiously.”
Barrett, 48, was on a shortlist of potential Supreme Court nominees that Trump released earlier this month before Ginsburg’s death, and has been widely seen as the most likely nominee since Trump said on Saturday that he would choose a woman. Trump also met with Barrett twice this week.
Barbara Lagoa, who Trump appointed to the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Florida last year, was also considered for the nomination along with three other women. But White House officials kept Trump from meeting Lagoa in person, according to a Trump adviser who spoke to PBS NewsHour. Trump also confirmed to reporters that he did not meet Lagoa.
Florida Republicans, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, as well as Trump campaign officials had lobbied for Lagoa, a Miami native and daughter of Cuban exiles, saying she would boost Trump’s chances of winning the key battleground state in November.
Yamiche Alcindor is the White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour; the moderator of Washington Week, the weekly public affairs show on PBS; and a political contributor for NBC News and MSNBC. She often tells stories about the intersection of race and politics as well as fatal police encounters. She is currently covering the administration of President Joe Biden and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
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