President Donald Trump has announced today conservative appellate judge Amy Coney Barrett will be his third US Supreme Court appointment. Ms Barrett appeared at the White House with Mr Trump as he made the announcement.
Known around the world as RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at age 87 on September 18.
If confirmed to replace RBG, Ms Barrett would become the fifth woman ever to serve on the top US judicial body. She would also push its conservative majority to a hefty six to three.
With Mr Trump’s fellow Republicans controlling the Senate, confirmation appears certain, though Democrats may try to make the process as difficult as possible.
Ms Barrett, 48, was appointed by Trump to the Chicago-based 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 and is a favourite of religious conservatives.
Born in New Orleans, Ms Barrett received her law degree from Notre Dame Law School, a Catholic institution in Indiana.
Mr Trump said he wants his nominee confirmed before the election, so she would be able participate in any election-related cases which reach the justices.
This would potentially cast a key vote in his favour.
A US presidential election’s outcome only once has been determined by the Supreme Court however, in 2000 when it saw Republican George W Bush’s win over Democrat Al Gore.
The USA takes to the polls on November 3, and the race between Mr Trump and Democrat Joe Biden is neck and neck.
Mr Trump has repeatedly without evidence said voting by mail, a regular feature of American elections, will lead to voter fraud.
He also has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election.
This marks the first time since 1956 that a US president has moved to fill a Supreme Court vacancy so close to an election.
In 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower William Brennan on the court just three weeks before winning re-election.
To do so he used a procedure called a “recess appointment” which bypassed the Senate, a tactic no longer available for installing justices.
An emboldened Supreme Court conservative majority could shift the United States to the right on hot-button issues.
These include curbing abortion rights, expanding religious rights, striking down gun control laws, and endorsing new restrictions on voting rights.