President Trump officially named Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee in a White House event Saturday afternoon, setting up a contentious nomination fight in the final few weeks before the presidential election.
“Today it is my honor to nominate one of our nation’s most brilliant and gifted legal minds to the Supreme Court. She is a woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution,” Trump said.
Barrett, accompanied by her husband and seven children, joined Trump in the Rose Garden for the event.
“Should I be confirmed, I will be mindful of who came before me. The flag of the United States is still flying at half-staff in memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to mark the end of a great American life,” said Barrett, praising the late justice, who died eight days ago at 87.
“Justice Ginsburg began her career at a time when women were not welcome in the legal profession,” Barrett said. “But she not only broke glass ceilings, she smashed them. For that she has won the admiration of women across the country, and, indeed, all over the world.”
In front of Republican senators and the US attorney general, Bill Barr, whose roles supporting Trump have attracted immense criticism, Barrett said Ginsburg’s “life of public service serves as an example to us all”.
“I fully understand that this is a momentous decision for a president, and if the Senate does me the honor of confirming me, I pledge to discharge the responsibilities of this job to the very best of my ability,” Barrett said. “I love the United States and I love the United States Constitution. I am truly humbled by the prospect of serving on the Supreme Court.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate will vote on Mr. Trump’s nominee, four years after he blocked President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court because the vacancy occurred in an election year. There were only eight justices on the court for over a year after Scalia’s death, until Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed in 2017.
In a statement on Saturday, McConnell said that the Senate “will evaluate this nomination on the basis of Judge Barrett’s objective qualifications.”
“The Court, the Senate, and the American people — not to mention the nominee and her family — deserve a fair process that is focused on Judge Barrett’s qualifications. I hope all 100 Senators will treat this serious process with the dignity and respect it should command,” McConnell said.
At a campaign rally in Pennsylvania later Saturday night, Trump celebrated his newly named nominee, basking in the opportunity to deflect attention away from the coronavirus pandemic and a floundering economy that have been red marks on his presidency.
“I just came from the Rose Garden of the White House,” Trump said, pausing for effect while the crowd erupted in chants of “Fill That Seat!”
“This is our third nomination. We have Justice Gorsuch, Justice Kavanaugh — and now we have Amy.”