US President Donald Trump on Saturday nominated Amy Coney Barrett, a favourite of conservatives, to be the new Supreme Court justice in place of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Making the announcement at the White House Rose Garden, Mr Trump described her as a “woman of unparalleled achievement”.
The republican leader further described her as a “stellar scholar and judge” with “unyielding loyalty to the constitution”.
The nomination will spark a bitter confirmation fight in the Senate as November’s presidential election looms.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden urged the Senate not to “act on this vacancy until after the American people select their next president and the next Congress”.
“The United States Constitution was designed to give the voters one chance to have their voice heard on who serves on the Court. That moment is now and their voice should be heard,” Mr Biden said.
If Judge Barrett is confirmed, conservative-leaning justices will hold a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court for the foreseeable future.
Also, the 48-year-old mother of seven would be the third justice appointed by the current Republican president, after Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.
The court’s nine justices serve lifetime appointments, and their rulings can shape public policy on everything from gun and voting rights to abortion and campaign finance for decades.