As he returned to Washington on Friday night, Trump confirmed to reporters he had made decision. “In my own mind, yes,” he said. But when asked about Barrett, he said: “I haven’t said it was her but she is outstanding.”
Trump also considered former Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Lagoa, a Cuban American judge now on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, after being lobbied by Florida Republicans, who said her nomination could support the president’s efforts to win Florida this fall. Trump had considered meeting Lagoa in Florida this week but he said Friday he had not.
Conservative groups were quick to praise Barrett, long seen as their first choice for the seat. “Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an excellent selection who has shown a rock-solid commitment to originalism and the Constitution,” Club for Growth President David McIntosh said.
The White House has already started to reach out to senators to set up meetings with the nominee. The Senate Judiciary Committee expects to hold confirmation hearings the week of Oct. 12. Both Trump and some Republican senators have said the Supreme Court needs to have all nine justices ahead of the election, in case the court needs to step in to decide the result.
“Now, Donald Trump and the Senate Republicans want to steal another seat on the Supreme Court so that Amy Coney Barrett can help repeal Roe and shred the Affordable Care Act — but not before she votes with a new, ultra-conservative majority to validate an election he intends to steal,” NOW President Christian F. Nunes said Barrett said.
The Senate confirmed Barrett to her current judgeship in a 55-43 vote in 2017, and she is expected to receive broad support from Senate Republicans. She’s not likely to receive any support from Senate Democrats, who argue that the upper chamber has never confirmed a Supreme Court justice so close to the election.
Democrats are still seething over Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision in 2016 to block President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland from getting a hearing in the Senate, arguing at the time that the American people should decide given that it was an election year. But McConnell and Senate Republicans say that Trump’s nominee is different because unlike in 2016, the White House and the Senate are now controlled by the same party.
There is little Senate Democrats can do to stop the nomination from going forward. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) this week invoked the two-hour rule to prevent committees from meeting more than two hours after the Senate is in session, in a sign of protest.