United States President Donald Trump on Saturday named federal judge Amy Coney Barrett as his choice to fill the seat of late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
His pick – like every Supreme Court nominee in recent decades – is highly controversial.
Top Republican lawmakers unsurprisingly rallied around the president’s selection, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, who will be shepherding Barrett’s confirmation process.
McConnell called Barrett “an exceptionally impressive jurist and an exceedingly well-qualified nominee to the Supreme Court”, while Graham said he was “very committed to ensuring the nominee gets a challenging, fair, and respectful hearing”.
Barrett’s critics have been quick to point out her conservative views on abortion and healthcare, for starters, while her defenders are hailing her as a brilliant legal mind who has strong connections to her faith and family.Liberal law professor Lara Bazelon summarised what is expected to be the Democrats’ mantra throughout the confirmation process, which will take place in the US Senate.
“Make no mistake: Judge Barrett’s confirmation will be the wrecking ball that finally smashes Roe v Wade and undoes the Affordable Care Act,” Bazelon, a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, wrote in a New York Times opinion piece.
“Her crucial vote on these cases and so many others will undo decades of the progress that Justice Ginsburg worked her whole life to achieve.”
Biden, Democrats opposed
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee and is expected to take part in questioning Barrett during her confirmation hearing, both tweeted their opposition.
Senate Democrats joined in the opposition, including Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, who will question Barrett during the confirmation hearing, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who tweeted a video.
Both are also keeping with their party’s message discipline by focusing their reactions on the health care issue.