The oldest judge in the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died the night before Friday, 87 years old. She was named a Supreme Court justice by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Now the question is who will fill her place, and whether the decision will come before or after the presidential election on 3 November.
It is the president who appoints Supreme Court justices and the Senate that approves them. And Donald Trump will act quickly.
– It’s going to be a woman
– I want a candidate ready next week. It will be a woman, he said during a meeting in Fayetteville on Saturday.
The Senate, where Republicans have a majority, will take a position on the president’s proposal before the presidential election, says the party’s leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell.
But several Republicans believe that one should wait until after the election. The Democrats also think so. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, shortly before she died, that one should wait to nominate a new candidate until after the election.
Barrett and Lagoa on top
Trump wants a conservative candidate. In a telephone conversation with Mitch McConnell this weekend, he is said to have highlighted Amy Coney Barrett (48) and Barbara Lagoa (52) as two favorites, according to American media. They are currently judges in federal appeals courts.
Amy Coney Barrett was born in New Orleans, and worked as a law professor at Notre Dame Law School before becoming a judge. She has been on Trump’s list of current candidates since 2017. Barrett is a practicing Catholic. She is an outspoken opponent of abortion, and questions have been asked as to whether this will affect her position when such cases are heard in the Supreme Court.
Barbara Lagoa was born in Miami and is the daughter of Cuban parents. She was the first with a Latino background to be convicted by the Supreme Court in her home state of Florida.
Two other judges, Amul Thapar (51) and Allison Jones Rushing (38), will also be part of a small group of candidates that Trump is considering. Thapar should be Mitch McConnell’s favorite.
– Highly respected
All are nominated by Trump for the positions they hold today, and should have great support among conservative lawyers who have given Trump advice in such cases.
Over the weekend, Trump described Barrett as “highly respected”. When he was asked about Lagoa, he replied that “she is a very special person, I have heard a lot about her, she is highly respected”.
Former leaders in September presented Trump with an updated list of 20 names of people he thinks will be relevant as future conservative candidates for the Supreme Court. At that time, there was no vacant seat in the Supreme Court.
Both Barrett, Lagoa and Thapar appear on this list, along with Republican senators Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley. Other names on the list are Gregory Katsas, Kate Todd, Christopher Landau, Paul Clement and Noel Francisco.