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”.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an exceptionally impressive jurist and an exceedingly well-qualified nominee to the Supreme Court.
A brilliant scholar. An exemplary judge. President Trump could not have made a better decision. pic.twitter.com/FKadx6TJeU
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) September 26, 2020
As the Chairman of the @senjudiciary Committee, I’m very committed to ensuring the nominee gets a challenging, fair, and respectful hearing.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 26, 2020
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.”
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.
Biden focused on the Affordable Care Act, while Harris mentioned abortion rights in her response to Trump’s announcement.
Today, President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court — a jurist with a written track record of disagreeing with the Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act.
Vote like your health care is on the ballot — because it is. https://t.co/TDBQOVLP4K
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 26, 2020
Trump’s hand-picked successor to Justice Ginsburg’s seat makes it clear: they intend to destroy the Affordable Care Act & overturn Roe. This selection would move the court further right for a generation & harm millions of Americans.
I strongly oppose Judge Barrett’s nomination.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 26, 2020
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.
With Americans already voting in droves, the President wants to jam through a Court nominee who has voiced serious opposition to the legality of the Affordable Care Act. Strip away healthcare in the middle of a pandemic?
RBG always fought for what was right – I’ll do the same.
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) September 26, 2020
Amy Coney Barrett will work to gut Roe v. Wade and the ACA, taking away health care coverage from millions of Americans—including those with pre-existing conditions. And make no mistake: Trump is counting on her to swing the Supreme Court in his favor when he loses this election. pic.twitter.com/cTpOHgintZ
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 26, 2020
Demand Justice, a group that will be active in opposing Barrett’s nomination, tweeted that its members believe Barrett could “could strip millions of Americans of their reproductive freedom and health protections” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amy Coney Barrett could strip millions of Americans of their reproductive freedom and health protections. During a pandemic.
🚨🚨🚨 Help us stop her confirmation >> https://t.co/xhjxWjfW4i
— Demand Justice (@WeDemandJustice) September 26, 2020
A couple of Republican senators who, because of political considerations, aren’t publicly tipping their hands as to whether they will vote to confirm Barrett, also weighed in on Saturday’s decision.
Utah Senator Mitt Romney, an occasional Trump critic, and Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, who is facing a difficult re-election battle, both said they “look forward” to meeting Barrett and examining her record.
My statement regarding the President’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court: pic.twitter.com/R9JGiNOzEV
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) September 26, 2020
In the days and weeks ahead, I look forward to meeting with Judge Amy Coney Barrett and thoroughly examining her judicial record as I fulfill my constitutional duty of advice and consent.
— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) September 26, 2020
The Judicial Crisis Network, a non-profit group that promotes conservative judicial nominees and that is reportedly spending $10m to campaign in support of Barrett’s confirmation, released a new TV ad on her behalf:
— Carrie Severino (@JCNSeverino) September 26, 2020
Meanwhile, Barrett’s fellow professor at the University of Notre Dame, O Carter Snead, sought to dispel concerns around her nomination, writing in The Washington Post earlier on Saturday that “liberals have nothing to fear” with the conservative jurist.
“There is of course no way to know in advance how a Justice Barrett would rule on hot-button cases,” Snead wrote.
“What is clear is that she would carefully analyze each case on its merits, respectful of the stakes for both the rule of law and the stability of our polity, doing her level best to get the question right, regardless of her own personal views.”