President Donald Trump is “saving” a seat on the US Supreme Court bench for judge Amy Barrett in place of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Axios reported on Sunday.
Three sources, who are familiar with comments made by the president in private, told Axios that Trump said he was “saving her for Ginsburg,” alluding to giving Barrett a seat on the bench should Ginsburg step down.
The 47-year-old judge was originally shortlisted by Trump for the Supreme Court seat vacated by retired Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018. The report noted Barrett was a favorite at the time among conservative activists.
Trump’s pick Brett Kavanaugh was ultimately nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court in place of Kennedy, a decision which prompted scrutiny considering his previous writings concerning abortion access and multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.
Barrett, who was successfully nominated by Trump in 2017 to serve as a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, has been criticized by Democrats in the past for her conservative views, particularly around abortion
As a professor at Notre Dame, Barrett belonged to the University Faculty for Life until 2016, which promotes anti-abortion resource, according to her judicial questionnaire. She also expressed her views on abortion in a university magazine in 2013 describing her own conviction that “life begins at conception,” and has previously written on the possibility of reexamining the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade.
During her tense confirmation hearing for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017, democratic senators grilled Barrett on how her Catholic faith could impact her judgment.
“The dogma lives loudly within you,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) notoriously said during Barrett’s hearing. “That’s of concern.”
However, Barrett defended her personal views, saying she would “never impose” her own convictions on the law.
Despite Trump’s apparent desire to have Barrett on the Supreme Court bench and to hold a reliable conservative majority, it’s unlikely he’ll get another pick. Ginsburg, who is 85 years old, has stated she plans to remain a justice for “at least five more years” and appears in good health in light of recent health concerns.
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