By Saturday evening, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett is very likely — if not certain — to be standing beside the president at the White House as his choice to succeed the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Nearly all sources who spoke to Newsmax on and off the record agreed the nomination of the onetime Notre Dame University Law professor and mother of seven will be the result of support for, and insistence on, Barrett by national conservatives and at least one senator who said she offered "certainty" of being a textualist (strict interpreter of the Constitution) that other contenders did not.
"[Barbara] Lagoa might be fine, but there isn't time to find out," the senator told Newsmax under condition of anonymity, referring to the U.S. Court of Appeals judge from Florida who is a finalist for nomination.
Recalling how conservatives were disappointed in past nominees who had "assurances" of conservatism – such as former Justice David Souter and present Chief Justice John Roberts – the senator said "this appointment is too risky, and I'm not willing to take a risk on this one."
He revealed he told the president earlier this week "it can't be Lagoa" and felt, after their talk, "it's not going to be Lagoa; I'm certain of it."
Having appointed Barrett to the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in 2017, President Trump himself had wanted to tap her to the high court vacancy in 2018 that eventually went to Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Trump was reportedly discouraged from turning to Barrett because of fear in the White House her nomination would lead to ugly Senate hearings that focused on her background as a charismatic Catholic.
This time, both the jurist's fellow Hoosier Vice President Mike Pence and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told the president from the beginning he should turn to Barrett.
In addition, national pro-life leaders Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List and Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition weighed in strongly on behalf of Barrett.
The consistent theme voiced by national conservatives was, based on her rulings and writings, Barrett, 48, exuded "certainty," while Lagoa and others did not.
"Certainty is the only way to go," said Morton Blackwell, Virginia's Republican National Committeeman and a conservative leader since he was the youngest delegate for Barry Goldwater at the 1964 Republican National Convention.
"I'm for Barrett — for certainty," Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, told Newsmax.
With 48 hours to go before Trump's announcement, groups on the right ranging from the Susan B. Anthony List and Judicial Watch to those on the left such as People for the American Way and MoveOn.org are poised for the most spirited ideological battle for a Supreme Court nomination since Robert Bork in 1987.
It is highly unlikely they would be positioning themselves this way were the certan nominee not Amy Coney Barrett.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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