By Geoff Bennett, Shannon Pettypiece and Monica Alba


WASHINGTON — At a campaign rally Saturday in North Carolina, President Donald Trump left no doubt about the gender of his forthcoming choice for the Supreme Court: "It will be a woman."

Supporters in Fayetteville chanted, "Fill that seat." Trump said he did not have a nominee yet but would make his choice "next week."


"We have numerous women on the list," Trump said.

Amy Coney Barrett, a federal appellate court judge, has emerged as one of the front-runners to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, three sources told NBC News.

Barrett, 48, was on the shortlist in 2018 to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy when Trump — who on Saturday called her "very respected" — ultimately selected Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The sources note that Barrett has been vetted and is a “known quantity” given her 2017 confirmation to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit based in Chicago. Trump also said his

Republicans thought she performed well in that venue and defended herself against allegations that her religious beliefs would color her legal judgment.

At the time, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told her, “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that's a concern.”


Among Barrett’s perceived pluses from a GOP perspective is that she’s well-regarded by the religious right given her ardent opposition to abortion and her devout Catholic faith, she’s a former clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, she’s a woman — viewed as a prerequisite in replacing the feminist icon Ginsburg — and is also a mother to seven children.


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