Washington — President Trump is expected to nominateto replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, CBS News has confirmed, according to multiple sources involved in or familiar with the selection process.
It's possible Mr. Trump could change his mind, but at this point, Barrett is expected to be announced as the president's choice Saturday afternoon at the White House.
The president, asked by reporters at Joint Base Andrews Friday evening whether he has made a decision on a nominee, replied, "In my own mind, yes." Though he would not confirm that Barrett is his pick, he did call her "outstanding."
Mr. Trump said this week that he had five top contenders, but he is only known to have met with Barrett, and he saw her twice in the week since Ginsburg died, on Monday and on Tuesday.
The White House has begun reaching out to Republican Senate offices to schedule meetings with the Supreme Court nominee to take place next week, starting Wednesday morning, according to two sources familiar with the planning. The Senate will be out Monday and Tuesday for Yom Kippur.
She has been a leading candidate and was a finalist to be Mr. Trump's second Supreme Court pick in 2018. Barrett met with the president at the White House on Monday. CNN first reported that the president intends to announce Barrett as his pick.
The White House press office declined to comment Friday.
If confirmed, Barrett, who serves on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, would be Mr. Trump's third Supreme Court appointee, following Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and just the fifth woman to serve on the high court. With her ascension to the Supreme Court,its conservative majority, widening it to 6-3 and diluting the power of Chief Justice John Roberts as a swing vote.
Mr. Trump's selection of Barrett, 48, would occur just over a week after Ginsburg's death at the age of 87 from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. A pioneer for women's rights, Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 and served as the anchor of the court's liberal wing.
But Mr. Trump has been urging Republicans to take up his nominee's confirmation swiftly, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed she will receive a vote on the Senate floor. In defending their decision to move forward with Barrett's confirmation, McConnell and top Republicans argue that unlike in 2016, the same party — the GOP — now controls the White House and the Senate.
Gaby Ake contributed to this report.