ACB doesn't really have the same ring to it as RBG. And it's doubtful that Judge Amy Coney Barrett, if she is elevated to become a Supreme Court Justice for the remainder of her time on earth, will be lauded as an icon the way her liberal predecessor was — but that's because people on the right mostly don't care about the court until abortion or gay marriage come up.
On Friday, CBS News and the New York Times have confirmed that Trump's long-assumed next pick for the Supreme Court is Amy Coney Barrett — he had apparently told multiple people he was "saving" Ginsburg's seat for Barrett. Barrett, a Seventh Circuit judge and onetime clerk for Antonin Scalia, was on Trump's Federalist Society-created shortlist for the high court two years ago when he went with Brett Kavanaugh instead. Like Scalia and Kavanaugh, Barrett is Catholic, and she has publicly stated that she believes life begins at conception and is personally opposed to abortion.
Reportedly, meetings are already being set up between Barrett and individual senators for next week.
Choosing her for the high court, like so much of what Trump does, is a clear gesture of sticking it to Senate Democrats — who were widely derided by religious conservatives for attacking Barrett during her 2017 confirmation hearing for the federal bench. It was California Senator Dianne Feinstein who would be most vociferously attacked by Catholics and conservatives for trying to suggest that Barrett would allow her faith to take precedence over her legal judgements.
"The dogma lives loudly within you, and that's a concern," Feinstein said, inspiring many an op-ed and cry of outrage on Fox News.
As Vox notes today, "Had Feinstein merely expressed concerns about Barrett’s views on abortion, perhaps the future Supreme Court nominee would not have become such a celebrity among Christian conservatives. But by blurring the line between a legitimate attack on Barrett’s political views and an illegitimate attack on her Catholic faith, Feinstein transformed Barrett into a hero for the religious right."
Barrett was a law professor at Notre Dame University prior to being nominated to the federal bench, and she worked in private practice for three years in D.C. prior to that — after serving as Scalia's clerk from 1998 to 1999.
Like Scalia, Barrett considers herself a strict originalist, believing that the Constitution must only be interpreted in its exact words — a stubborn standpoint that ignores the 240 years that have passed since it was written and assumes that the founding fathers wanted there to be no room for interpretation. Such originalists of course do make interpretations of their own according to their political beliefs, as with the poorly and vaguely phrased Second Amendment — for which she favors an extremely broad interpretation for gun toting, according to her dissenting opinion in a case last year.
Barrett signed a letter to Catholic bishops in 2015 that strongly implied she opposes marriage equality, and referred to "the meaning of human sexuality, the significance of sexual difference and the complementarity of men and women" and "the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman."
All told, though, Barrett only has a little over two years worth of a judicial record to comb through — which Senate aides will be doing in the coming weeks as the Judiciary Committee prepares to hold a hearing on the nomination.
Trump is expected to publicly announce the nomination on Saturday.