KEY POINTS

  • Trump plans to announce his new Supreme Court pick on Saturday
  • The president has shortlisted five nominees for the seat
  • Sources familiar with the deliberation say the frontrunners are Barrett and Lagoa

President Donald Trump is expected to announce his new Supreme Court nominee on Saturday after claiming the U.S. needs all nine justices to ensure the legality of mail-in ballots in the 2020 elections. 

On Monday, the president said he had narrowed down his list of candidates to five women, with 48-year-old Judge Amy Coney Barrett and 52-year-old Judge Barbara Lagoa emerging as the frontrunners. 

According to CNN, sources familiar with the deliberations said Barret was seen back at the White House on Tuesday for the second consecutive day. They also said the president seemed enthusiastic about her after their meeting. 

However, Trump has yet to finalize his decision. The White House is also said to be working on scheduling a meeting between the president and Lagoa on Friday. 

The other three finalists for the job -- deputy White House counsel Kate Todd and federal appeals court judges Joan Larsen and Allison Jones Rushing -- are now considered long shots.

Both shortlisted candidates boast conservative views. Here is a closer look at top two contenders to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Judge Amy Coney Barrett

Barrett is a mother of seven from Indiana and a graduate of Notre Dame Law School, where she worked as a law professor until Trump nominated her to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017.

As a devout Catholic, Barrett has faced questions from the Democrats about her faith during her previous nomination hearing. Her belief also made her a favorite among religious conservatives.

Barrett is currently the highest-profile contender and possibly the most controversial over her pro-life views. If nominated to the Supreme Court, she would likely be grilled in the Senate over her opinions on Roe v. Wade, a decision many believe she would vote to overrule, as reported by Fox News

Judge Barbara Lagoa

Lagoa was born to parents who fled Cuba and migrated to Miami. She graduated from Columbia University School of Law, where the late Ginsburg also studied. 

According to CBS News, Lagoa worked as a federal prosecutor in Miami before being appointed to a state appeals court in 2006 by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. In January 2019, Lagoa made history after current Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis named her to the state's supreme court. Her appointment made her the first Latina and first Cuban American woman to be selected for the court. 

If she is named as Trump’s pick for the vacant seat, Lagoa will likely face questions over a ruling by the 11th Circuit in a major voting rights case in Florida. She joined the majority, which argued that convicted felons must pay all fines, restitution, and legal fees before being allowed to vote.

Mini-profiles of Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa, two women at the top of US President Donald Trump's list of potential nominees to the Supreme Court Mini-profiles of Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa, two women at the top of US President Donald Trump's list of potential nominees to the Supreme Court Photo: AFP / Gal ROMA