Multiple reports indicated Friday that US President Donald Trump will name today conservative federal appeals court judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
His decision, which comes a week after the liberal icon’s death at age 87, sets the stage for what promises to be a bitter confirmation fight in the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans.
Trump has asked Senate Republicans to confirm his nominee ahead of the Nov. 3 U.S. election, when he seeks a second term in office and Democrats aim to seize control of the chamber.
Barrett, 48, was appointed by Trump to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 and is known for her conservative religious views. Supreme Court justices are given lifetime appointments.
If confirmed by the Senate, she would become the fifth woman to serve on the high court while expanding its conservative majority to a rock-solid 6-3.
Trump plans a formal introduction at the White House on Saturday.
Two sources confirmed on Friday that Trump plans to nominate Barrett, but warned that Trump could change his mind.
Trump himself told reporters on Friday that he had made his decision, but declined to say who his pick was.
Barrett has been viewed as a frontrunner throughout, along with fellow federal appeals court judge Barbara Lagoa. Barrett previously served as a clerk to conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016.
Trump said he did not meet with Lagoa during a campaign trip to Florida.
As an appellate judge, Barrett has staked out conservative legal positions on key hot-button issues in three years on the bench, showing support for expansive gun rights and a hardline Trump immigration policy while bolstering the rights of college students accused of campus sexual assaults.
Abortion rights groups have expressed concern that on the Supreme Court Barrett could help overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.