President Donald Trump is saving conservative Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be the replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, according to anonymous sources who spoke to Axios.
“I’m saving her for Ginsburg,” Trump told his confidants, according to three sources cited in an Axios report.
Trump used the same line about Barrett with several people, including with an adviser two days before he announced the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Barrett is on Trump’s list of conservative judges he would nominate to the Supreme Court. She is a favorite among conservatives because she embraces her Christian faith and appears to be open to overturning Roe v. Wade.
According to the sources, Trump chose to wait on nominating Barrett because she would likely face resistance from two Senate Republican women who support abortion: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). Some of Trump’s aides believed Republicans would pick up seats in the 2018 midterms, which would make it easier to confirm a more conservative candidate like Barrett.
Ginsburg, 86, is the oldest justice on the Supreme Court. She had three bouts with cancer but returned to the bench each time and appears healthy.
According to one source who discussed Barrett with Trump, the judge has “an inside track” because she already cleared a confirmation hearing.
“She is the most known quantity right now amongst the women on the list,” the source said. “And she also has the inside track in the sense that she was kind of battle-tested for having gone through a confirmation already.”
The Senate confirmed Barrett to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017. The hearing made headlines because Democratic senators pressed Barrett about her faith, raising questions whether such interrogation violates the constitutional prohibition against religious tests of public servants.
“The dogma lives loudly within you,” Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) said at the confirmation hearing. “And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.”
According to the Axios sources, Trump may still change his mind.
“The Supreme Court judicial selection process with the president is a very fluid one,” one source said. “He floats in and out of these discussions over a period of time.”
Barrett’s education is one of the weak points on her résumé. The president prefers candidates with Yale and Harvard degrees, according to the sources. Barrett went to Notre Dame.
Trump moved the Supreme Court well in the conservative direction by appointing Kavanaugh and Justice Neil Gorsuch. Kavanaugh’s confirmation was tainted by unsubstantiated allegations from several female accusers, which led to heated confirmation hearings.
Barrett is either 46 or 47 years old, which would make her the youngest judge on the Supreme Court bench if she is confirmed. Age is a major factor in the selection process since Supreme Court justices are appointed for life terms.
Barrett was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. She graduated from Rhodes College and attended Notre Dame Law School. Barrett clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a constitutional conservative.
After her clerkship, Barrett worked in private practice and moved on to become a law professor at the Notre Dame Law School.
Trump nominated Barrett for a seat on the Seventh Circuit in May 2017. The Senate confirmed Barrett in October 2017.
Barrett is a mother of seven children, including a special needs child and two children adopted from Haiti.