On Saturday, Sept. 26, President Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, likely launching a volatile confirmation battle ahead of Election Day.
On the evening of Ginsburg’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he intended to move forward with the process. “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” he said in a prepared statement that night, less than two months before Nov. 3. It upends his precedent from 2016, when he refused to hold hearings for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, for nearly eight months.
Coney Barrett, 48, is a judge for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which oversees Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. She was nominated to the position by Trump in 2017 and confirmed by McConnell’s Senate. In 2018, Trump considered her for Anthony Kennedy’s seat before nominating Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Her confirmation would shift the court to the right, perhaps for decades.
Her nomination appeals to evangelical voters, who Trump likely is aiming to court, given her reliably conservative stances on issues like abortion and gun rights. Much like her former boss, Justice Antonin Scalia, she takes a strong originalist view of the law. (She clerked for Scalia from 1998 to 1999.) If confirmed by the Senate, she would be Trump’s third appointment to the Supreme Court, the most in recent history dating back to Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.
Before Coney Barrett's roughly three years as a judge, she was a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, where she taught federal courts, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation. She graduated summa cum laude from Notre Dame Law School in 1997 and worked in private practice before returning to her alma mater in 2002. She lives in South Bend, Indiana, with her husband and seven children.