If confirmed by the Senate, Barrett, who sits on the Illinois-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, will replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg who died on Sept. 18. Trump picked Barrett from a list of candidates that included U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
A formal announcement of the pick is expected Saturday. Her nomination will kick off what’s expected to be one of the most contentious confirmation battles in recent memory. Republicans say they intend to seat Barrett this year, even though the vacancy on the court opened up less than two months before Election Day. Democrats are determined to fight the nomination, noting that Republicans refused to confirm President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court in 2016 when a seat came open 269 days from Election Day.
Both of Texas’ Republican U.S. senators, Cruz and John Cornyn, have indicated that they plan to support Trump’s eventual nominee.
Cornyn said Monday the Senate should not rush the process this time around but that the Senate “will vote on that nominee sometime this year,” either before or after the election. He said in May that he thought the Senate had a “responsibility” to take up a Trump court nomination if it came up this year.
Cruz, meanwhile, urged Trump to announce a nominee as soon as possible. Appearing on Fox News on the night of Ginsburg's death, Cruz told Sean Hannity that once Trump named a successor, he and his fellow Republican senators should confirm the nominee before Election Day.
"A 4-4 court that is equally divided cannot decide anything and I think we risk a constitutional crisis if we do not have a nine justice Supreme Court, particularly when there is such a risk of contested litigation and a contested election,” he said.
Cruz has authored a book on the importance of the Supreme Court that will publish a week from Tuesday called, “One Vote Away: How a Single Supreme Court Seat Can Change History.”
Cruz has a connection to Barrett, both did legal work for George W. Bush on the contested 2000 recount in Florida.
While Cruz was on Trump’s list of potential nominees, he suggested after the early September announcement that he was not interested in filling a vacant seat.
"It's humbling and an immense honor to be considered for the Supreme Court," Cruz said. "In the Senate, I have been blessed to lead the fight to preserve our constitutional liberties —every day, to defend the rights of 29 million Texans — and I look forward to continuing to do so for many years to come.”