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Donald Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court

Amy Coney Barrett

US president Donald Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The long-term academic, a judge on the Chicago-based 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, was widely tipped for the Supreme Court seat.

As a devout Catholic and who has Irish heritage, political observers are considering how her nomination may affect November's presidential election.

Her great, great, great grandparents on her mother's side were from Ballyconnell, Co Cavan while there is also Irish blood among her father's ancestors.

She graduated at the top of her class from Notre Dame, whose sports teams play under the nickname The Fighting Irish.

The choice has been hailed by religious conservatives and could be well-received among Irish and Italian-American Catholics in mid-western states who voted for Mr Trump in 2016.

However, liberals say her legal views are too heavily influenced by her religious beliefs and fear her ascent to the nation's highest court could lead to a scaling back of abortion reforms.

At 48, Ms Barrett would be the youngest justice, and her tenure could last for decades.

Mr Trump hailed Ms Barrett as "a woman of remarkable intellect and character", saying he had studied her record closely before making the pick.

"I looked and I studied, and you are very eminently qualified," he said as Ms Barrett stood next to him in the Rose Garden.

While Democrats appear powerless to stop Ms Barrett's confirmation in the Republican Party-controlled Senate, they are seeking to use the process to weaken Mr Trump's re-election chances.

Ms Barrett's nomination could become a reckoning over abortion, an issue that has divided many Americans so bitterly for almost half a century.

Now, with the shift in the court's ideological make-up, Democrats hope their voters will turn out in droves because of their frustration with the Ms Barrett's nomination.

Ms Barrett was considered to be a finalist in 2018 before Mr Trump nominated Justice Brett Kavanaugh for the seat vacated when Justice Anthony Kennedy retired.

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