Republicans are expecting President Donald Trump to announce Saturday that he is nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court as he aims to put a historic stamp on the high court just weeks before the election.
Conservative groups and congressional allies are laying the groundwork for a swift confirmation process for Barrett, even before Trump makes the selection official in a Rose Garden ceremony Saturday evening. They, like the president, are wasting little time moving to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, organizing multimillion-dollar ad campaigns and marshaling supporters both to confirm the pick and to boost Trump to a second term.
For days, White House officials have indicated to congressional Republicans and outside allies that Barrett is Trump’s pick, but Trump aides have offered no official word as they try to maintain some suspense before the official announcement.
The likely shift in the court’s makeup — from Ginsburg, a liberal icon, to an outspoken conservative — would be the sharpest ideological swing since Clarence Thomas replaced Justice Thurgood Marshall nearly three decades ago.
For Trump, it will provide a much-needed political assist as he tries to fire up his base. For conservatives, it will mark a long-sought payoff for their at-times uncomfortable embrace of Trump. And for Democrats, it will be another moment of reckoning, with their party locked in a bitter battle to retake the White House and the Senate.
Senate Republicans are readying for confirmation hearings in two weeks, with a vote in the full chamber now expected before Election Day. Democrats are essentially powerless to block the votes.
“I’m confident he’s going to make an outstanding nomination,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News. “The American people are going to take a look at this nominee and conclude, as we are likely to conclude, that she well deserves to be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
“They’re hell-bent on getting this done as fast as possible,” said Democratic Senate whip Dick Durbin. “They think it helps Donald Trump get reelected.”