With 43 days left until the election, Trump is itching for a fight as he moves quickly to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat. “This nomination is a fuck-you to the left,” a Republican close to the White House told me. Two years later Barrett is the front-runner. According to a source, Trump told Federalist Society cochairman Leonard Leo prior to Ginsburg’s death that he would nominate Barrett to fill her seat if it opened up. The White House did not provide comment.
Barrett’s divisive positions on issues like abortion, which held her back last time, could now be seized upon to goad the left into a culture-war battle in the campaign’s waning months. “It would be malpractice not to nominate Barrett,” former Trump adviser Sam Nunberg told me. “You’ll have a Catholic judicial legal powerhouse who will be attacked by the left,” he said. “This will be especially useful in Pennsylvania to remind Catholic voters that [Joe Biden] supports third-term abortions.” (Biden, also a Catholic, “has not explicitly expressed support for late-term abortions,” notes NPR.) Other sources, however, said Trump is strongly considering Barbara Lagoa, a Cuban-American federal appeals court judge from Florida. Lagoa, it’s believed, would help secure a Florida victory in November.