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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a front-runner to become President Trump's nominee to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after he declared Saturday that he will choose a woman.

Of note: Axios' Jonathan Swan reported last year that Trump said of the federal judge, "I'm saving her for Ginsburg."

Between the lines: While Trump is known to change his mind, Republicans told Axios'
Margaret Talev and Mike Allen earlier Saturday before Trump's pledge to next week nominate a woman for the vacancy that Barrett, 48, remained at the top of the list.

The big picture: The former Notre Dame law professor is a favorite of conservative activists and a devout Catholic.

  • Barrett spoke in 2013 during the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, which legally protects the right for women to seek an abortion, of her "own conviction that life begins at conception," per Notre Dame Magazine.
  • Trump nominated Barrett to the U.S. Appeals Court for the Seventh Circuit in May 2017.
  • When Democrats expressed concern during her confirmation hearing about her religious beliefs, Barrett replied: "It's never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge’s personal convictions, whether they arise from faith or anywhere else, on the law."
  • Barrett was confirmed by the Senate later in 2017 and Trump added her to his list of potential Supreme Court nominees soon after.

For the record: Another leading contender is Barbara Lagoa, a judge on the U.S. Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit, who was praised by Trump Saturday evening and who Republicans hope might "energize Latino voters," but NPR notes there are concerns about her "reliability as a conservative voice on the bench."

  • Lagoa was one of six women among 20 additional names Trump announced earlier this month for his Supreme Court list of some 40 potential picks. The other five are:
  • Bridget Bade, a judge on the U.S. Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit; Martha Pacold a judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois; Sarah Pitlyk; a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri; Allison Jones Rushing, a judge on the U.S. Appeals Court for the Fourth Circuit; and Kate Todd, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel to the President. 

Go deeper: A court fight for the ages

Go deeper

Democrats fret about Garland for attorney general

Judge Merrick Garland. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

If Joe Biden picks Merrick Garland to be his attorney general, he could cost his party control of one of the most important judicial appointments in America — and many Democrats do not want the president-elect to take that chance.

How it works: Biden still hasn't named his choice to lead the Justice Department, and if he taps Garland, it would open up his seat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. If Democrats don’t win both Georgia Senate runoff seats next month, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would almost surely prevent the president-elect from filling it.

Dec 18, 2020 - Health

Supreme Court denies religious school challenge to Kentucky's COVID-19 restrictions

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (right). Photo: Jon Cherry via Getty

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to block Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order halting in-person instruction at most K-12 schools, including religious schools, through the end of the year, noting that the order "effectively expires this week or shortly thereafter."

Why it matters: The decision follows several cases that examined whether state coronavirus restrictions affecting religious institutions, including places of worship violate, the First Amendment.

Dec 17, 2020 - Sports

Knives out for the NCAA

The U.S. Supreme Court Building. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The NCAA's strict limits on college athletes' compensation get less tenable every day.

Driving the news: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case challenging the NCAA's ban on certain education-related benefits, like laptops and scholarships for graduate school.