Donald Trump to announce his Supreme Court pick at 5 pm on Saturday


President Donald Trump said he will announce his nominee for the Supreme Court at 5 pm on Saturday.

‘I’m getting very close to having a final decision made, very close,’ Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday evening, of his pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is reported to be at the top of his short list with Judge Barbara Lagoa in second. Trump has vowed to pick a woman to replace Ginsburg, a feminist icon and hero to liberals. 

Whomever he picks, the president is expected to shift the court to the right with his decision. 

Saturday’s announcement will come shortly before the president leaves for Pennsylvania, where he will hold a rally in Middletown in the crucial 2020 battleground state.

Given the close proximity between the election and the nomination process, the Supreme Court is highly likely to become a political hot potato in the presidential race. 

But Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday would not promise a vote on the nomination before the election.

McConnell said he would wait for the person to come out of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings and then set the date for the vote on the Senate floor.

‘When the nomination comes out of committee, then I’ll decide when and how to proceed,’ he said after the Senate Republicans’ lunch on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

He would not address if that vote would be before or after November 3, when voters decide who will be the next president of the United States.  

President Trump has pushed for a vote on his nominee before the general election but McConnell could be more peckish on the timing to help out his senators in tight re-election contests who would prefer to deal with the issue after the voters go to the polls.

Timing in the Senate is also tough. There would be less than 40 days before the election to complete the process when most nominations take at least 70 days. Traditionally a nominee holds meetings with senators, has a confirmation hearing that could take two or three days, has to be voted out of committee and then has the final vote on the Senate floor.

President Donald Trump said he will announce his nominee for the Supreme Court at 5 pm on Saturday

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell would not promise a vote on President Donald Trump's nomination to the Supreme Court before the election

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell would not promise a vote on President Donald Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court before the election

Most Republican senators have said they back the president’s right to move forward with a replacement for Ginsburg instead of waiting for the winner of November’s contest to name her replacement.

Senator Mitt Romney – the last remaining Republican holdout – said he would back the president and vote for a nominee in an election year.

‘I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the president’s nominee. If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications,’ Romney said in a statement Tuesday morning.

And the president said he will announce his nominee on Saturday at the White House.

‘I will be announcing my Supreme Court Nominee on Saturday, at the White House! Exact time TBA,’ Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning.  

The White House, meanwhile, would not address the timing of a Senate vote or if they thought they had enough votes to confirm the president’s pick. While enough Republican senators have said they support moving forward in the nomination process, not all of them have promised to vote for the nominee, who has yet to be named.  

‘We go about this the way we always have putting forward a constitution abiding textualist, originalist that we believe the American people will appreciate and get through the approval process,’ White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at her press briefing on Tuesday.

And she wouldn’t address if Republicans have the 51 votes needed for confirmation. 

‘I haven’t spoke to him about the vote count,’ she said of her talks with the president. ‘We believe the Republicans will remained unified.’

President Donald Trump said he will announce his nominee to the Supreme Court on Saturday at the White House

President Donald Trump said he will announce his nominee to the Supreme Court on Saturday at the White House

Senator Mitt Romney - the last remaining Republican holdout - said he would back the president and vote for a Supreme Court nominee in an election year

Senator Mitt Romney – the last remaining Republican holdout – said he would back the president and vote for a Supreme Court nominee in an election year

Romney was the Democrats’ last chance to pick off a Republican senator to support them in their quest to keep Ginsburg’s court seat open until after the November election.

Even if Romney had sided with Democrats, the odds of their being able to keep the nomination off the Senate floor would be slim given only two other Republican senators said the nomination should wait. A total of four GOP lawmakers would need to defect.

Romney, a frequent critic of President Trump who voted for one article of impeachment against him, told reporters on Capitol Hill there is historic precedent for when one party controls the White House and the Senate for their nominations to be confirmed.

‘I think there’s some perception on the part of some writers and others that gee what happened with Merrick Garland and some others was unfair. I don’t agree with that,’ he said in reference to Barack Obama’s 2016 Supreme Court nominee. 

‘I think at this stage its appropriate to look at the constitution and to look at the precedent which has existed since the beginning of our country’s history. In the circumstance where a nominee of a president is from a different party than the Senate then, more often than not, the Senate does not confirm. So the Garland decision was consistent with that. On the other hand, when there’s a nominee of a party that is in the same party as the Senate, then typically they do confirm. So the Garland decision was consistent with that. And the decision to proceed now with President Trump’s nominee is also consistent with history. I came down on the side of the institution and precedent as I’ve studied it. And, and made the decision on that basis,’ he noted. 

He declined to say if he would change his mind if Democrat Joe Biden wins the November election. 

‘I’m not going to get into the particulars of who wins and who doesn’t. There are there are many possibilities that we could go through. I’ve indicated that what I intend to do, is to proceed with the consideration process and if a nominee actually reaches the floor, then I will vote based upon the qualifications of that nominee,’ he said. 

President Trump poses with the Supreme Court justices in June 2017: From left are, Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Anthony Kennedy, Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., the president, Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, Stephen G. Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor

President Trump poses with the Supreme Court justices in June 2017: From left are, Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Anthony Kennedy, Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., the president, Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, Stephen G. Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor

Although Trump hasn’t named his pick to the court, the nomination process appears to be all wrapped up with enough Republican senators on board to ensure the nominee gets a vote on the Senate floor.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said Trump ‘has the votes’ to confirm his pick after two key Republican senators said they would back the president. 

He said the timing of the confirmation vote was up to McConnell but he’s confident the Judiciary panel could hold the hearings it needed in time for a vote before Election Day.

“I’ll leave it up to Mitch. I’m confident we can have a hearing that will allow the nominee to be submitted to the floor before Election Day. Following the precedents of the Senate, I think we can do that. I’ll tell you more about the hearing when we get a nomination Saturday, if that’s when it is,’ Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

And he shrugged off the request of some senators to skip the confirmation hearings, which could become contentious amid Democratic objections over holding them in an election year instead of waiting to see who wins the White House in November. 

‘I think it’s important to the country to have a hearing,’ he said.

Graham is a part of a group of Republican senators pushing to hold the vote before the November 3 election.  

‘We’ve got the votes to confirm Justice Ginsburg’s replacement before the election. We’re going to move forward in the committee, we’re going to report the nomination out of the committee to the floor of the United States Senate so we can vote before the election. Now, that’s the constitutional process,’ he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday night.

Graham is one of many Republican senators who did not back then President Barack Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the 2016 election year but said they would back Trump’s pick in this election year.

‘I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination,’ the senator said four years ago when arguing against the Garland nomination.

Graham said his stance changed after the heated confirmation process for Trump’s last nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. 

‘They said they tried to destroy Brett Kavanaugh so they could fill the seat – they were dumb enough to say that. I’ve seen this movie before. It’s not going to work, it didn’t work with Kavanaugh,’ he told Fox News.

Graham’s confident statements came after Iowa Sen Chuck Grassley, the former Judiciary Committee chair, and Colorado Sen Cory Gardner confirmed that they will back a hearing for Trump’s nominee.  

South Carolina Sen Lindsey Graham expressed confidence in Trump's chances of rushing through a Supreme Court pick in an interview with Fox News on Monday

South Carolina Sen Lindsey Graham expressed confidence in Trump’s chances of rushing through a Supreme Court pick in an interview with Fox News on Monday

Iowa Sen Chuck Grassley (pictured) confirmed that he will back a hearing for Trump's nominee

Colorado Sen Cory Gardner (pictured) also confirmed that he will back a hearing for Trump's nominee

President Trump’s chances of confirming a nominee were boosted after Iowa Sen Chuck Grassley (left) and Colorado Sen Cory Gardner (right) confirmed that they will back a vote in an election year

It had been speculated that Grassley could try to block the nomination process because he’d previously opposed filling Supreme Court vacancies during an election year.  

‘The Constitution gives the Senate that authority, and the American people’s voices in the most recent election couldn’t be clearer,’ Grassley said in a statement.

Grassley was chairman of the Judiciary Committee when Republicans blocked Obama’s pick in 2016, when he joined McConnell in arguing that it was best to let voters decide who should fill the Supreme Court seat.

The senator maintained that stance as recently as this summer, telling reporters that he would still hold that position if he were chairman. But now he says he supports the president.

Gardner’s stance was also in question because he faces a tough re-election race in his home state, and some thought he could side with Democrats to boost his standing among moderate voters. 

But Gardner said: ‘When a President exercises constitutional authority to nominate a judge for the Supreme Court vacancy, the Senate must decide how to best fulfill its constitutional duty of advice and consent.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed on the Senate floor Monday there will be a vote on President Trump's Supreme Court pick this year

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed on the Senate floor Monday there will be a vote on President Trump’s Supreme Court pick this year

‘I have and will continue to support judicial nominees who will protect our Constitution, not legislate from the bench, and uphold the law. Should a qualified nominee who meets this criteria be put forward, I will vote to confirm.’

The news of both senators preparing to back Trump came as a blow to the Democrats fighting to block Trump and McConnell’s plans to rush the court appointment.  

The nomination will come just six weeks before the election and has sparked fierce debate, particularly after Ginsburg – a beloved liberal icon – made her last wishes known.

Ginsburg, who died Friday from complications from colon cancer, dictated a statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera before her death, saying: ‘My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.’ 

Democrats have used her statement and Republican actions in 2016 – when they wouldn’t move forward with Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, citing election year politics – as the basis of their argument for holding off on confirming a new judge.   

The Republican argument at the time was that the position should not be filled until a new president was elected by the American people – a standard set by the Republicans that the Democrats now argue the party must continue to honor.   

Two GOP senators – Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins – have said the nomination should wait until after the November 3 election. 

Trump criticized both of them for their stance. Collins, notably, did not rule out voting for the president’s nominee if it came to the floor this year. She is in a tough re-election campaign. Murkowski doesn’t face voters again until 2022.  

Republican Senator Ted Cruz defended his colleagues’ decision to support Trump’s nomination after failing to support Obama’s.

‘Everybody has changed their position,’ the GOP senator from Texas told CBS’ ‘This Morning.’ 

‘Every Democrat has flipped,’ he added. ‘There’s a reason for that. Both sides believe something fundamentally different about Supreme Court justices. The Democrats and Joe Biden have promised to nominate liberal activist judges.’

He noted Republicans – both President Trump and Senate Republicans – ran for office promising to name conservative judges to the courts, adding that since the GOP kept control of the Senate in the 2018 midterms, voters gave them the nod of approval to confirm a justice. 

‘President Trump ran promising to nominate principled constitutionalists to the court. The American people elected him.The American people elected a Republican majority three times in 2014, 2016, 2018. The Republican majority in the Senate ran promising to confirm constitutionalist judges,’ Cruz said.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski vowed to derail Trump's nomination plans

Sen. Susan Collins has also dissented

Two GOP senators – Lisa Murkowski (left) and Susan Collins (right) – said the new Supreme Court nominee should be named after the election

Judge Amy Coney Barrett (pictured) has emerged as  Trump's top choice to replace Ginsburg

Barbara Lagoa (pictured) is a 'distant second' for the nomination, the sources said

Judge Amy Coney Barrett (left) has reportedly emerged as Trump’s top choice to replace Ginsburg, sources say – and Barbara Lagoa (right) is a ‘distant second’

Republican Senator Ted Cruz defended his colleagues' decision to support President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee

Republican Senator Ted Cruz defended his colleagues’ decision to support President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

President Donald Trump

Former President Barack Obama

Many Republicans senators have said they support voting on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee in an election year after refusing to back then President Barack Obama’s nominee in 2016

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, in March 2016, refused to bring President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland (above) to the Senate floor for a vote

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, in March 2016, refused to bring President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland (above) to the Senate floor for a vote

In March 2016, Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland,a moderate jurist, to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

But McConnell refused to bring Garland’s nomination to the Senate floor, saying the winner of the November election should get to pick the next justice even though the contest was eight months away.

Now McConnell and most of his Republican senators say they will back Trump’s nominee, noting the circumstances are different from four years ago since their party controls both the White House and the Senate.

‘We’re going to vote on this nomination on this floor,’ McConnell said Monday in a Senate floor speech.  

Unfazed by the intense pressure to delay the nomination process, Trump has said he is ‘strongly considering’ five candidates to replace Ginsburg, with Barrett emerging as a favorite.  

Trump met with Barrett, a judge on the Seventh Circuit and mother of seven who adopted two children from Haiti, at the White House on Monday. 

Bloomberg reported that the president is ‘leaning toward’ Barrett for the nomination but is also planning to meet with another contender, Lagoa, sometime this week.  

Sources told the outlet that Lagoa, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and former justice on the Florida Supreme Court, is the only other person being seriously considered for the job, but she is a ‘distant second’ to Barrett.  

Trump said Monday that he will wait to announce his nomination until Friday or Saturday – after funeral services for Ginsburg have concluded. 

‘I think it’ll be on Friday or Saturday,’ Trump said of the impending announcement for his third Supreme Court nomination. ‘And we want to pay respect. We, it looks like, it looks like we will have probably services on Thursday or Friday, as I understand it.’

‘I think in all due respect we should wait until the services are over for Justice Ginsburg,’ he told the Fox & Friends panel during a Monday morning call-in interview. ‘And so we’re looking probably at Friday or maybe Saturday.’ 

Trump told Fox & Friends Monday morning he will reveal his pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday or Saturday, claiming he wanted to 'respect' her by waiting until after her funeral services to make the announcement

Trump told Fox & Friends Monday morning he will reveal his pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday or Saturday, claiming he wanted to ‘respect’ her by waiting until after her funeral services to make the announcement

Trump said he is 'seriously considering' five or four different people for the job, as a person familiar with the process said the White House narrowed it down to four women ¿ Amy Coney Barrett, Barbara Lagoa, Kate Todd and Allison Jones Rushing

Trump said he is ‘seriously considering’ five or four different people for the job, as a person familiar with the process said the White House narrowed it down to four women – Amy Coney Barrett, Barbara Lagoa, Kate Todd and Allison Jones Rushing

Speaking to reporters before leaving the White House on Monday, Trump urged the Senate to vote on the nomination before the election, claiming there is ‘plenty of time’ to get someone through the process before Election Day on November 3.

‘I’d much rather have a vote before the election because there’s a lot of work to be done,’ the president asserted. ‘We have plenty of time to do it. I mean there’s really a lot of time. So let’s say I make the announcement on Saturday, there’s a great deal of time before the election. That’ll be up to Mitch in the Senate. I think it sends a good signal. And it’s solidarity… I’m just doing my constitutional obligation.’

WHO’S WHO ON TRUMP’S SUPREME COURT SHORTLIST 

REPUBLICAN SENATORS

Ted Cruz, Texas. 49

Josh Hawley, Missouri. 40

Tom Cotton, Arkansas. 43

JUDGES 

Bridget Bade, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 54

Stuart Kyle Duncan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. 48

James Ho, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 47

Gregory Katsas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 56

Barbara Lagoa, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. 52

Carlos Muñiz, Supreme Court of Florida. 51

Martha Pacold, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. 41

Peter Phipps, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 47

Sarah Pitlyk, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. 43

Allison Jones Rushing, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. 38

Lawrence VanDyke, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 47

CURRENT AND FORMER REPUBLICAN OFFICIALS 

Daniel Cameron, Kentucky Attorney General. 34

Paul Clement, partner with Kirkland & Ellis, former solicitor general. 54

Steven Engel, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. 46

Noel Francisco, former U.S. solicitor general. 51

Christopher Landau, U.S. ambassador to Mexico. 56

Kate Todd, deputy White House counsel. 45

At the same time signaling ‘respect’ for the late justice, the president also brought into question her ‘dying wish’ that she not be replaced by a Trump nominee.

He cast doubt on Ginsburg’s dying wish to have the next president replace her on the Supreme Court, alleging it was actually written by a Democrat.

Trump said it was actually Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff who were behind the justice’s last request. 

There is not proof that this allegation has any validity and Trump did not offer any explanation.

‘I don’t know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff, Schumer and Pelosi,’ Trump said during his Fox & Friends interview.

‘I would be more inclined to the second, it sounds so beautiful. But that sounds like a Schumer deal or maybe a Pelosi or shifty Schiff. So that that came out of the wind. Let’s see. I mean, maybe she did and maybe she didn’t,’ he added. 

Ginsburg’s granddaughter Clara Spera said that in her dying days, the liberal justice dictated a dying wish to her.

‘My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,’ she said. 

Trump told reporters before boarding Marine One from the South Lawn Monday: ‘It just sounds to me that it would be someone else. I don’t believe – it could be, it could be and it might not be too.

‘It was just too convenient,’ he added.  

Trump also lashed out at House Speaker Pelosi on Monday – calling her ‘crazy’ after she refused to rule out impeaching him in a gambit that could be used to stall a Supreme Court confirmation process.

Trump blasted the idea – which has some political risks and practical flaws – as he defended his infamous July 25, 2019 call with the president of Ukraine that was the subject of the Democratic impeachment effort as ‘perfect.’

‘@SenateGOP Crazy Nancy Pelosi wants to Impeach me if I fulfill my Constitutional Obligation to put forth a Nominee for the vacated seat on the United States Supreme Court. This would be a FIRST, even crazier than being Impeached for making a PERFECT phone call to Ukrainian Pres,’ Trump tweeted Monday morning.

The attack came hours after Pelosi refused on Sunday to rule out impeachment as one of the ‘options’ Democrats could avail themselves of in an effort to try to stall a vote on the judicial vacancy.

‘We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country,’ she told ABC’s ‘This Week ‘ when asked about the prospect.

‘This president has threatened to not even accept the results of the election,’ Pelosi continued. ‘Our main goal would be to protect the integrity of the election as we protect the people from the coronavirus.’

Trump also attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday as 'crazy' after she refused to rule out impeaching him in a gambit that could be used to stall a Supreme Court confirmation process

Trump also attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday as ‘crazy’ after she refused to rule out impeaching him in a gambit that could be used to stall a Supreme Court confirmation process

‘We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country,’ said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was asked if she might use impeachment as a tactic to slow a Supreme Court nomination

Ginsburg will be honored in a viewing outside the Supreme Court building later this week, according to pandemic-era guidelines. 

The late Justice will lie in state this week as her casket will be on public view Wednesday and Thursday at the Supreme Court Building and Friday in National Statuary Hall in the US Capitol. Private ceremonies will also be held at both locations.

Pelosi announced Monday that the formal ceremony at the Capitol on Friday morning is invitation-only due to the COVID pandemic.

It’s unclear if Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will pay their respects and, if so, when.

Ginsburg will be buried next week at Arlington National Cemetery in a private service, the court said in a statement. Her husband, Martin Ginsburg, was buried at Arlington in 2010.  

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was lovingly referred to as RBG, died last week at the age of 87 due to complications from an ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer. She will be honored in an outdoor viewing near the Supreme Court building later this week

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was lovingly referred to as RBG, died last week at the age of 87 due to complications from an ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer. She will be honored in an outdoor viewing near the Supreme Court building later this week

The president has signaled an impending announcement following the death of Ginsburg last week, claiming it’s his ‘obligation’ to nominate a new justice ‘without delay.’

With Ginsburg’s passing, only two of the remaining eight justices are women, prompting Trump to promise over the weekend he will nominate a female.

There are four women who have made the shortlist, a source with knowledge of the process said, according to Politico – Barrett, Lagoa, Kate Todd and Allison Jones Rushing.

Barrett is 48, Lagoa is 52, Rushing is 38 and Todd is 45. If any of these women are nominated and confirmed, they would be the youngest currently seated on the current Supreme Court. 

‘These are the smartest people, the smartest young people, you like to go young, because they’re there for a long time,’ Trump told Fox & Friends.

He added that his nominee would ‘abide by the Constitution,’ be a ‘good person’ and have ‘very, very high moral values.’    

Who is Amy Coney Barrett? 

On Saturday afternoon, Trump named Amy Coney Barrett, 48, of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit and Barbara Lagoa, 52, of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit as possible nominees.

Emerging as the favorite is Barrett, 48, a mother of seven children, including two adopted from Haiti and one with special needs.

 Her involvement in a cult-like Catholic group where members are assigned a ‘handmaiden’ has caused concern in Barret’s nomination to other courts and is set to come under fierce review again if she is Trump’s pick.

The group was the one which helped inspire ‘The Handmaids Tale’, book’s author Margaret Atwood has said. 

Barrett emerges now as a front runner after she was already shortlisted for the nomination in 2018 which eventually went to Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump called the federal appellate court judge ‘very highly respected’ when questioned about her Saturday. 

Born in New Orleans in 1972, she was the first and only woman to occupy an Indiana seat on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Married to Jesse M. Barrett, a partner at SouthBank Legal in South Bend and former Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, the couple have five biological and two adopted children. 

Their youngest biological child has Down Syndrome.

Friends say she is a devoted mother – and say with just an hour to go until she was voted into the 7th District Court of Appeals by the U.S. Senate in 2017, Barrett was outside trick-or-treating with her kids. 

Barrett’s strong Christian ideology makes her a favorite of the right but her involvement in a religious group sometimes branded as a ‘cult’ is set to be harshly criticized.    

In 2017, her affiliation to the small, tightly knit Christian group called People of Praise caused concern while she was a nominee for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. 

The New York Times reported that the practices of the group would surprise even other Catholics with members of the group swearing a lifelong oath of loyalty, called a covenant, to one another. 

They are also assigned and held accountable to a personal adviser, known until recently as a ‘head’ for men and a ‘handmaid’ for women and believe in prophecy, speaking in tongues and divine healings. 

Members are also encouraged to confess personal sins, financial information and other sensitive disclosures to these advisors. 

Advisors are allowed to report these admissions to group leadership if necessary, according to an account of one former member. 

The organization itself says that the term ‘handmaid’ was a reference to Jesus’s mother Mary’s description of herself as a ‘handmaid of the Lord.’

They said they recently stopped using the term due to cultural shifts and now use the name ‘women leaders.’ 

The group deems that husbands are the heads of their wives and should take authority over the family while ‘the heads and handmaids give direction on important decisions, including whom to date or marry, where to live, whether to take a job or buy a home, and how to raise children,’ the Times reported. 

Unmarried members are placed living with married couples members often look to buy or rent homes near other members. 

Founded in 1971, People of Praise was part of the era’s ‘great emergence of lay ministries and lay movements in the Catholic Church,’ founder Bishop Peter Smith told the Catholic News Agency. 

Beginning with just 29 members, it now has an estimated 2,000. 

According to CNA, some former members of the People of Praise allege that leaders exerted undue influence over family decision-making, or pressured the children of members to commit to the group. 

At least 10 members of Barrett’s family, not including their children, also belong to the group. 

Barrett’s father, Mike Coney, serves on the People of Praise’s powerful 11-member board of governors, described as the group’s ‘highest authority.’ 

Her mother Linda served as a handmaiden.  

The group’s ultra-conservative religious tenets helped spur author Margaret Atwood to publish The Handmaid’s Tale, a story about a religious takeover of the U.S. government, according to a 1986 interview with the writer.

The book has since been made into a hit TV series. 

According to legal experts, loyalty oaths such at the one Barrett would have taken to People of Praise could raise legitimate questions about a judicial nominee’s independence and impartiality. 

‘These groups can become so absorbing that it’s difficult for a person to retain individual judgment,’ said Sarah Barringer Gordon, a professor of constitutional law and history at the University of Pennsylvania. 

‘I don’t think it’s discriminatory or hostile to religion to want to learn more’ about her relationship with the group.

‘We don’t try to control people,’ said Craig S. Lent. ‘And there’s never any guarantee that the leader is always right. You have to discern and act in the Lord. 

‘If and when members hold political offices, or judicial offices, or administrative offices, we would certainly not tell them how to discharge their responsibilities.’

During her professional career, Barrett spent two decades as a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, from which she holds her bachelor’s and law degrees.

She was named ‘Distinguished Professor of the Year’ three separate years, a title decided by students. 

A former clerk for late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, she was nominated by Trump to serve on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 and confirmed in a 55-43 vote by the Senate later that year.

At the time, three Democratic senators supported her nomination: Joe Donnelly (Ind.), who subsequently lost his 2018 reelection bid, Tim Kaine (Va.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.), according to the Hill.

She was backed by every GOP senator at the time, but she did not disclose her relationship with People of Praise which led to later criticism of her appointment. 

Barret is well-regarded by the religious right because of this devout faith.

Yet these beliefs are certain to cause problems with her conformation and stand in opposition to the beliefs of Ginsburg, who she would be replacing.

Axios reported in 2019 that Trump told aides he was ‘saving’ Barrett to replace Ginsburg.

Her deep Catholic faith was cited by Democrats as a large disadvantage during her 2017 confirmation hearing for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

‘If you’re asking whether I take my faith seriously and I’m a faithful Catholic, I am,’ Barrett responded during that hearing, ‘although I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear in the discharge of my duties as a judge.’

Republicans now believe that she performed well in her defense during this hearing, leaving her potentially capable of doing the same if facing the Senate Judiciary Committee.

She is a former member of the Notre Dame’s ‘Faculty for Life’ and in 2015 signed a letter to the Catholic Church affirming the ‘teachings of the Church as truth.’

Among those teachings were the ‘value of human life from conception to natural death’ and marriage-family values ‘founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman’.

She has previously written that Supreme Court precedents are not sacrosanct. Liberals have taken these comments as a threat to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

Barrett wrote that she agrees ‘with those who say that a justice’s duty is to the Constitution and that it is thus more legitimate for her to enforce her best understanding of the Constitution rather than a precedent she thinks clearly in conflict with it’.

Among the other statements that have cause concern for liberal are her declaration that ObamaCare’s birth control mandate is ‘grave violation of religious freedom.’

LGBTQ organizations also voiced their concern about her when she was first named on the shortlist.  

She has also sided with Trump on immigration. 

In a case from June 2020, IndyStar reports that she was the sole voice on a three-judge panel that supported allowing federal enforcement of Trump’s public charge immigration law in Illinois, 

The law would have prevented immigrants from getting legal residency in the United States if they rely on public benefits like food stamps or housing vouchers.  

Who is Barbara Lagoa? 

Barbara Lagoa , 52, was named by Trump as one of his potential nominees to the Supreme Court. 

A Cuban American who parents fled to the U.S., Lagoa was born in Miami in 1967. She grew up in the largely Cuban American city of Hialeah.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, her parents fled Cuba over five decades ago when Fidel Castro’s Communist dictatorship took over. 

During the 2019 news conference in Miami announcing her appointment to the Supreme Court, she told the crowd that her father had to give up his ‘dream of becoming a lawyer’ because of Castro. 

If nominated to the nation’s high court by Trump and confirmed by the Senate, the mother of three daughters would be the second Latino justice to ever serve.

She served on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for less than a year after being appointed by Trump and confirmed by the Senate on an 80-15 vote

Prior to that she also spent less than a year in her previous position as the first Latina and Cuban American to serve on the Florida Supreme Court.

Lagoa is considered a protégé of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close Trump ally.

Her position in crucial swing state Florida could help Trump politically.

Last week, she voted in the majority in a ruling that barred hundreds of thousands of Florida felons who have served their time from voting unless they pay fees and fines owed to the state.

This decision could have a major impact on the presidential race as Florida is often won by a candidate by only razor-thin margins.

‘Florida’s felon re-enfranchisement scheme is constitutional,’ Lagoa wrote in a 20-page concurrence, according to USA Today.

‘It falls to the citizens of the state of Florida and their elected state legislators, not to federal judges, to make any additional changes to it.’

In 2000 Lagoa was one of a dozen mostly pro bono lawyers who represented the Miami family of Elián González, a Cuban citizen who became embroiled in a heated international custody and immigration controversy.

In 2016 while in the Florida Third District Court of Appeal, she wrote an opinion reversing the conviction of Adonis Losada, a former Univision comic actor sentenced to 153 years in prison for collecting child porn. 

She ruled that a Miami-Dade judge erred in not allowing Losada to defend himself at trial. 

That same month she became unpopular with free press advocates when she was one of three judges who allowed a Miami judge to close a courtroom to the public for a key hearing in a high-profile murder case. 

They ruled that publicity surrounding the machete murder of a student in Homestead might unfairly sway jurors at a future trial. 

Lagoa is a graduate of Florida International University and Columbia University Law.

She is is a member of the conservative Federalist Society, which stresses that judges should ‘say what the law is, not what it should be.’

She is married to lawyer Paul C. Huck Jr., and her father-in-law is United States District Judge Paul Huck. 

WHO IS ALLISON JONES RUSHING?

 

At 38-years-old, Judge Allison Jones Rushing is the youngest woman Trump is considering to become a Supreme Court Justice. 

The only other potential nominee younger than Rushing is Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is 34. But President Donald Trump vowed to nominate a woman to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat, meaning Rushing is effectively the youngest potential nominee. 

Trump told Fox & Friends he want to nominate someone young ‘because they’re there for a long time.’   

Rushing in from North Carolina and graduated magna cum laude Duke University School if Law in 2007, where she served as executive editor of the Duke Law Journal.

She formerly worked at Williams and Connolly and now serves as judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth District. 

She clerked from 2007-2008 for then-Judge Neil Gorsuch, who went on to become a Supreme Court Justice by Trump’s nomination. And also clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas during the 2010–2011 term.  

In March 2019, Rushing was confirmed as a federal judge after being nominated by Trump. 

During the confirmation proceedings, Rushing was asked about her ties to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) – which is a conservative Christian group she interned for in 2005 while in law school.   

ADF has received harsh criticism for opposing LGBT rights and had been labeled a ‘hate group’ by some. But Rushing said ‘Hate is wrong, and it should have no place in our society. In my experience with ADF, I have not witnessed anyone expressing or advocating hate.’    

WHO IS KATE TODD?

 

Donald Trump listed former White House Associate Counsel Kate Todd, 45, as one of his potential nominees for the open Supreme Court seat. 

Todd currently teaches law of federal courts at George Washington University Law School and serves as a public member of the Administrative Conference of the United States. 

She is also a contributor for the Federalist Society, where a group of conservatives and libertarians advocates for an originalist interpretation of the Constitution

Following the president’s vow over the weekend to nominate a female for Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat, a person familiar with the process said the White House has included Todd on a list of top four picks. 

While serving in the White House, Todd helped vet federal judges for nomination and advised the president and his staff on a wide range of legal and constitutional issues. 

Todd graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School where she was also executive editor of the Harvard Law Review.

She clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas – who was nominated by George H.W. Bush and is currently the only black Supreme Court Justice – and for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Kate Comerford Todd is the former senior vice president and chief counsel for the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center – the litigation arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

She also was a partner in the appellate, litigation, and communications practices of Wiley, Rein & Fielding in Washington D.C. where she represented businesses in federal and state litigation and regulatory matters. 

Todd lives in Virginia with her husband and their four children. 



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