President Donald Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Ms Barrett, a judge on the Chicago-based 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals and a devout Roman Catholic, has been hailed by religious conservatives and others on the right as an ideological heir to conservative stalwart Antonin Scalia, the late Supreme Court justice for whom she clerked.
But liberals say her legal views are too heavily influenced by her religious beliefs and fear her ascent to the nation’s highest court could lead to a scaling back of hard-fought abortion rights.
President Trump hailed Ms Barrett as “a woman of remarkable intellect and character”, saying he had studied her record closely before making the pick.
“I looked and I studied, and you are very eminently qualified,” he said as Ms Barrett stood next to him in the Rose Garden.
Ms Barrett was considered to be a finalist in 2018 before President Trump nominated Justice Brett Kavanaugh for the seat vacated when Justice Anthony Kennedy retired.
At just 48, Ms Barrett would be the youngest justice, and her tenure could last for decades.