Trump chooses Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court nominee

By WCBS Newsradio 880

WASHINGTON (WCBS 880) -- President Donald Trump announced Saturday at the White House Rose Garden that his nominee for the Supreme Court is Amy Coney Barrett.

Trump had said he would choose a woman to replace the seat left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal icon who died last Friday at 87. Barrett was seen as his most likely choice; she is his third nomination to the high court after Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

"Over the past week, our nation has mourned the loss of a true American legend. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a legal giant and a pioneer for women. Her extraordinary life and legacy will inspire Americans for generations to come," Trump said.

Amy Coney Barrett

"Now we gather in the Rose Garden to continue our never-ending task of ensuring equal justice and preserving the impartial rule of law," he continued. "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—Judge Amy Coney Barrett."

Trump stood beside Barrett as more than 100 people gathered in the newly remodeled Rose Garden for the announcement. American flags were hanging along the colonnade and a military band played patriotic music.

After touting Barrett’s judicial record, Trump alluded to the congressional fight to come in the weeks ahead. “This should be a straightforward and prompt confirmation. It should be very easy. Good luck. It’s going to be very quick. I’m sure it will be extremely noncontroversial,” he said.

Barrett, 48, was joined by her seven children and husband, Jesse, as Trump made the announcement. She would be the fifth woman and the first mother of school-age children to serve on the high court.

"I am truly humbled by the prospect of serving on the Supreme Court," Barrett said. "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."

"I have no illusions that the road ahead of me will be easy, either for the short-term or the long haul," she continued. "I never imagined that I would find myself in this position. But now that I am, I assure you that I will meet the challenge with both humility and courage."

Amy Coney Barrett and Donald Trump

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden reacted to the news minutes after the announcement, saying in a statement that Barrett "has a written track record of disagreeing with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. She critiqued Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion upholding the law in 2012."

There had been multiple reports Friday that Trump would choose Barrett, who currently serves as a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump wouldn't confirm the reports at the time but did say Barrett was "outstanding." 

Trump’s nominee would mark a conservative shift in the makeup of the court if confirmed.

With the 2020 presidential election just weeks away, conservative groups and Republicans in Congress hope for a speedy confirmation process. Democrats have promised a fight.

The Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA) Co-Chairs, Massachusetts AG Maura Healey and Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum, released a statement: “The nomination of arch-conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett should alarm anyone who cares about the future of this country. Everything is on the line—health care, marriage equality, the right to abortion, worker protections, access to the ballot box, and so much more. The American people deserve to be heard. To every member of the Senate: find your backbone, buck (Sen. Mitch) McConnell, and let the people vote first."

Republican Congressman Peter King, of New York, said Barrett was the perfect choice.

“It was important to nominate someone who could follow Justice Ginsburg. So Amy Coney Barrett being a woman certainly fills that. And being a great intellect also, like Justice Ginsburg. To me this was the ideal, perfect choice.”

But that might be where Barrett’s similarities with RBG end. Barrett has criticized the Affordable Care Act and has referred to abortion as “always immoral.”

But King doesn’t believe nominating her means Roe v. Wade will be overturned.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut, disagrees.

“Judge Barrett has written that she will follow her own views of the law over established and settled Supreme Court precedent, which in my view is wrong,” Blumenthal said.

The senator said if Barrett’s views become law both the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade are in jeopardy.