President Donald Trump’s potential nominee to the Supreme Court previously rejecting the idea of former President Barack Obama filling a vacancy during an election year that she said could “dramatically flip the balance of power” in a recently-resurfaced interview.
The interview shows Amy Coney Barrett, a federal judge who sits on the Seventh Circuit, discussing the former president’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in 2016 following the death of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative stalwart.
Ms Barrett suggested in the interview with CBS News that she was against the idea of Mr Obama selecting Mr Garland, often considered an apolitical nominee and centrist judge, because he was not a conservative like justice Scalia.
“We’re talking about justice Scalia, the staunchest conservative on the court”, Ms Barrett said in the interview, a clip of which went viral this week after it was reported that she was a top choice to the nation’s highest court.
“We’re talking about him being replaced by someone who could dramatically flip the balance of power on the court,” she continued. “It’s not a lateral move.”
The comments gained renewed backlash throughout the week against Ms Barrett, who previously was featured on the president’s shortlist of potential Supreme Court nominees before the death of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away on Friday at the age of 84.
Justice Ginsburg, one of the most liberal Supreme Court justices and a trailblazer for civil, women’s and LGBTQ+ rights, died from metastatic pancreatic cancer after battling multiple bouts of cancer over the course of her life. She had previously called Mr Trump an “aberration” and vowed to stay on the court until 2021.
In a statement dictated to her granddaughter just days before her death, the Supreme Court justice said: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."
Mr Trump declined to honour that wish, along with his Republican allies on Capitol Hill who have mostly said they will support any nomination he puts forward to fill the vacancy just six weeks ahead of the next presidential election.
Ms Barrett has been at the White House on multiple occasions and meeting with the president, according to multiple reports, though he is also still considering several other nominees.