President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be the new US Supreme Court Justice.
Barret, a conservative, long-term academicck and appeals court judge was the hot favourite for the seat.
She will replace liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died of cancer on September 18.
If confirmed by the Senate, Barret will be the sixth justice to be appointed by a Republican president, and the third to be picked by President Trump.
The US President on Saturday hailed Barrett as “a woman of remarkable intellect and character.”
“Today, it is my honour to nominate one of our nation’s most brilliant and gifted legal minds to the Supreme Court,” he said as Barrett stood next to him in the Rose Garden.
“She is a woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution. Judge Amy Coney Barrett.” .
He said he had studied her record closely before making the pick. “She is eminently qualified for the job. And I can tell you, I did that, too. I looked and I studied. And you are very eminently qualified for this job.”
Judge Barrett said she was “truly humbled” by the nomination, and praised Ginsburg upon accepting the nomination.
“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. Justice Ginsburg began her career at a time when women were not welcome in the legal profession. But she not only broke glass ceilings, she smashed them. For that, she has won the admiration of women across the country and indeed all over the world.”
The part-time professor then quickly aligned herself with her mentor and former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s conservative approach to the law, and gave a glimpse of what kind of Justice she would be.
“A judge must apply the law as written,” she said. “Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy view they might hold.”
If Judge Barrett is confirmed, conservative-leaning justices will hold a 6-3 majority on the country’s highest court, and will dominate in rulings regarding polarizing issues such as abortion, gun rights, immigration and healthcare for decades.
To secure the position on the Supreme Court, Barrett will still have to pass a confirmation hearing, where Democratic senators are likely to ask tough questions and bring up many of their voters’ concerns.
In his speech at the White House, President Trump urged Democrats to take up her nomination swiftly and to “refrain from personal and partisan attacks.” But some Democrats had already voiced their distaste for Trump’s pick, including Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
“By nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, President Trump has once again put Americans’ healthcare in the crosshairs,” Schumer wrote in a statement.
Judge Barret’s nomination completes a dramatic reshaping of the US federal judiciary under President Trump that he hopes will provide a needed boost to his reelection effort.