A battle unlike any other: Balance of Power Extra

Balance of Power

The fight over President Donald Trump's move to fill a Supreme Court vacancy is officially on — and, with just 37 days until he stands for re-election, it's unlike any other in American history.

Trump's selection of Judge Amy Coney Barrett paves the way for a Senate Republican push to confirm her before the Nov. 3 election, adding to questions about how the vote could play out if it's disputed and goes to the Supreme Court.

In moving to add his third justice to the bench, Trump is seeking to provide a fresh jolt to his faltering campaign by keeping a promise to install right-leaning judges that helped rally conservative voters to his side in 2016.

If confirmed by the Senate, Barrett, known to be a devout Catholic who considers abortion "always immoral," would fill the seat vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The loss of liberal icon Ginsburg and the confirmation of the conservative Barrett, 48, could cement the court's rightward shift for a generation.

Trump called Barrett "a woman of remarkable intellect and character," during a White House ceremony yesterday, while Barrett paid respect to Ginsburg, saying the late justice "not only broke glass ceilings, she smashed them."

Senate Republicans' plan to confirm Barrett before the election has angered Democrats, who point to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's refusal to consider Barack Obama's nomination to fill a vacant seat during the 2016 election year.

While Democratic challenger Joe Biden has said the winner of the presidential contest should fill Ginsburg's seat, there's little Democrats can do to delay a vote.

And, as Jordan Fabian and Josh Wingrove write, her nomination will undoubtedly play a dominant role in the final weeks of the presidential election.

Kathleen Hunter 

Barrett listens as Trump speaks during yesterday's announcement ceremony at the White House.

Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to start considering Barrett's confirmation Oct. 12, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said on Fox News. Barrett would face questioning for the next two days, then senators would hear from outside witnesses Oct. 15. Tell us how we're doing or what we're missing at balancepower@bloomberg.net.

Global Headlines

Wooing women | Barrett's selection is poised to give the Supreme Court its most conservative female justice in history but is unlikely to accomplish the one thing that could help seal Trump's re-election — a new surge of support from women, a segment of the electorate his campaign has struggled to attract.

First face off | The brewing Supreme Court fight is likely to be a central topic Tuesday when Trump and Biden face off in their first debate. Justin Sink and Tyler Pager write that Trump has unwittingly done Biden a big favor by lowering expectations for his performance.

Biden and his wife, Jill, pay respects at Ginsburg's casket.

Photographer: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg

The Right's choice | Trump's social conservative base made clear that Barrett was their top choice. The enthusiasm she inspires on the right stems largely from her very public religious faith and the assumption that she would be a sure vote to overturn or significantly weaken Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that established the legal right to abortion for U.S. women.

Her philosophy | Barrett champions the "originalist" approach that has become conservative orthodoxy for interpreting the text of the Constitution and is an acolyte of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. She has said that life begins at conception.

And finally ... Barrett's addition to the court would maintain the number of female justices, but the composition of the panel continues to look quite different than the rest of America in gender, race and religion, as well as on certain key policy issues.

Barrett speaking yesterday at the White House.

Photographer: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images



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