US President Trump said he's already made up his mind but hasn't confirmed reports on picking Barrett for the Supreme Court seat.
President Donald Trump intends to name Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, US media have reported, who if confirmed would cement a solid conservative majority on the high court.
The president said this week he will announce his pick to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday, and various media outlets said it would be the 48-year-old conservative judge.
If she is confirmed, the court would shift to a 6-3 conservative majority.
"The Constitution itself leaves plenty of room for change. Political, legal, social and otherwise." Amy Coney Barrett— Scott Dworkin (@funder) September 25, 2020
This rant about The Constitution is terrifying. pic.twitter.com/AJBT8WSipG
Asked by journalists if Barrett will indeed be nominated, Trump responded, "I haven't said that."
But he added that he had already made a decision "in my own mind" and that Barrett is "outstanding."
The media reports noted the mercurial Trump could still change his mind before the official announcement, expected at 5pm (9pm GMT) on Saturday.
Democratic opponents, led by presidential candidate Joe Biden, have demanded that Republicans back off on replacing liberal icon Ginsburg – who died on September 18 – until after the November 3 election, when they'll know whether Trump is getting a second term.
Leaders of the Republican majority in the Senate, which is tasked with confirming Supreme Court nominees, said they have enough support to hold a vote on the nomination either before the election or at worst during the "lame duck" session between the election and the inauguration of the next president in January.
"We will certainly do that this year," Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said.
Barrett, a practising Catholic and law professor, was only appointed to the bench in 2017. Deeply conservative, she is considered hostile to abortion rights – a key position for many Republicans.
In 2018, she was on the shortlist presented by Trump for a seat vacated by the retirement of justice Anthony Kennedy, a position ultimately filled by Brett Kavanaugh after a ferocious confirmation battle.