Amy Coney Barrett, Supreme Court nominee, is Scalia's heir

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Judge Amy Coney Barrett listens as President Donald Trump announces Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

CHICAGO – Although Amy Coney Barrett is the president’s choice to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she is more aptly described as heir to another departed Supreme Court justice: conservative hero Antonin Scalia.

Like Scalia, for whom she once clerked, she is a committed Roman Catholic and a devotee of his favored interpretation of the Constitution known as originalism. Those qualifications delight many on the right but dismay liberals who fear her votes could result in the chipping away of some laws, especially the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

President Donald Trump nominated the 48-year-old federal court appellate judge from South Bend, Indiana, at a Rose Garden press conference Saturday.

In remarks moments after Trump named her, with her husband and their seven children looking on, Barrett paid homage to Ginsburg.

“I will be mindful of who came before me,” she said, citing Ginsburg's career as a trailblazer for women’s rights. “She not only broke glass ceilings; she smashed them.”

But Barrett also highlighted how she is, in her approach to the law, a polar opposite to Ginsburg.

She said of Scalia: “His judicial philosophy is mine, too.”

Her nomination sets Barrett on the path to help conservatives hold sway over the court for decades. It's as sure to energize the president’s base as it is to galvanize his foes heading to Election Day. Senate Republican leaders have said they have the votes to confirm her this year, likely before November's election.