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WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump has told people around him that on Saturday he plans to nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a nominee, who if confirmed, would ensure a solid conservative majority on the high court for years to come, according to people familiar with the matter.
Democrats have little chance to block the nominee, but a bitter Senate battle looms in the weeks ahead of the Nov. 3 election, the results of which Trump has said may end up before the high court.
Barrett's confirmation would replace a liberal icon with a deeply conservative jurist whose views suggest she might vote to further limit abortion rights, an issue that animates conservative Republicans and evangelical voters.
Barrett, 48, could hold the lifetime seat for decades. She would join two other relatively young, deeply conservative jurists chosen for the high court by Trump. Trump's first two appointments, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, are in their 50s. The trio would represent one-third of the body and form a new 6-3 conservative majority.
The people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the decision has not been announced, cautioned that Trump could always change his mind ahead of the announcement, but he is telling others that Barrett is his pick and she is the only candidate he is known to have met with about the vacancy. Administration officials and campaign advisers were preparing for a Barrett announcement, and some remarks for the president disclosing her as his choice have already been written, according to these people.
The White House declined to comment.