Speculation on who will be named to replace Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court began almost immediately upon the announcement of her death Friday night.
President Donald Trump has promised a swift nomination and that the candidate will be a woman. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has said that the nominee will get a hearing in the Senate.
Two judges on Trump’s list of potential nominees have garnered the most attention in the hours following Ginsburg’s death – Judge Amy Coney Barrett and Judge Barbara Lagoa.
Here is a look at Barrett and Lagoa.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett
Barrett, 48, is a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She is the first woman to occupy an Indiana seat on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She was nominated by Trump for a seat on the appellate court for the Seventh Circuit in 2017.
She is a professor of law at Notre Dame.
She is married and the mother of seven children, including a child with Down Syndrome.
Here are five things to know about Barrett:
- She was a clerk for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. She said she was greatly influenced by Scalia and she is considered an “originalist,” or someone who believes that the Constitution should be interpreted based on the original understanding of the authors at the time it was ratified.
- Barrett is a self-described “faithful Catholic,” and she was grilled by Democrats in her Senate confirmation to the court of appeals about whether she can separate her faith from her decisions as a judge. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, told Barrett during the confirmation hearing that “The dogma lives loudly within you.”
- While she opposes abortion, she testified in the confirmation hearing that she would “have no interest in” challenging Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion.
During a speech in 2013, Barrett did say she could see how obtaining an abortion could change in the U.S. “The fundamental element, that the woman has a right to choose abortion, will probably stand,” Barrett was quoted as saying in a 2013 speech at Notre Dame. “The controversy right now is about funding. It’s a question of whether abortions will be publicly or privately funded.”
- Barrett belongs to a group called People of Praise. The group, according to its website, is a “charismatic Christian community” that includes all denominations.
“Like hundreds of millions of other Christians in the Pentecostal movement, People of Praise members have experienced the blessing of baptism in the Holy Spirit and the charismatic gifts as described in the New Testament,” the group’s website says. People of Praise has about 1,700 members.
- Barrett had three Democrats join the Republicans in voting for her confirmation by the Senate in 2017. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and former senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana, all voted for Barrett.
Judge Barbara Lagoa
Lagoa, 52, has been both a civil and criminal lawyer prior to her appointment to Florida’s Supreme Court, and, months later her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
She is from Hialeah, Florida, and graduated cum laude from Florida International University, where she majored in English. She received her law degree from Columbia University and was an associate editor of Columbia Law Review.
She was a prosecutor for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. In 2006, Gov. Jeb Bush appointed her to the Court of Appeals for the Third District. Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed her to the state’s supreme court in 2019.
Lagoa is married to attorney Paul Huck, and they have three daughters.
Here are five other things to know about Lagoa:
- Lagoa is the daughter of immigrants from Cuba who fled the country when Fidel Castro came to power. If she should be nominated and confirmed, she would be the fifth woman to serve on the court and the second Latino justice. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the first.
- In 2000, Lagoa was part of the legal team that defended the US-based relatives of Elián González. Gonzalez was the Cuban boy who left Cuba to come to America by floating on a raft. His mother drowned and Gonzalez’s American relatives sought to gain custody of the boy. The boy’s father sued to get his son back and Elian was returned to Cuba.
- Trump nominated Lagoa to serve on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2019 only nine months after she was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court. She was confirmed by the Senate on an 80-15 vote.
- Lagoa was part of a majority opinion ruling that said people with felony criminal records in Florida cannot vote unless they pay any outstanding court fines and fees.
- She has heard more than 11,000 cases and issued more than 470 written opinions.
Cox Media Group