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Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court pick Saturday. Here's what we know.

Rebecca Morin
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump announced his third nominee for the Supreme Court on Saturday to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a choice that could lead the highest court in the nation to be dominated by conservatives for decades to come.

The president selected federal Appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a favorite of religious conservatives, as his nominee.

The announcement was made at 5 p.m. at the White House in the Rose Garden, weather permitting. Following the announcement, the president will be hosting a rally in Middletown, Pennsylvania, a key battleground state for the November election.

"They say the biggest thing you can do (as president) is the appointment of judges, but especially the appointment of Supreme Court justices," Trump said during a campaign rally in Newport News, Virginia, on Friday. "That's the single biggest thing a president can do, because it sets the tone of the country for 40 years, 50 years."

More:Trump is expected to name Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Supreme Court, GOP sources say

Here's what we know:

Who is Amy Coney Barrett?

Barrett, 48, was interviewed by Trump at the White House Monday and has long been seen as a frontrunner on the president's list of potential picks.

Many Republicans are eager to engage Democrats in a fight over Coney Barrett whose deep Catholic faith came up as an obstacle during her  2017 confirmation hearing for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

Several other names were floated as Ginsburg's replacement, such as Barbara Lagoa, a federal appeals court judge from Florida.

Barrett, who became prominent in legal circles while a law professor at Notre Dame University, has been praised by conservatives for her criticisms of the Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision, her support of gun rights, and her legal criticisms of the health care law.

Democrats, however, have denounced Barrett as an ideologue, and have said that Trump wants her on the court to issue pro-corporate rulings, strike down abortion rights, and protect him in case of an election dispute.

The partisan debate over confirming a Justice before the Nov. election 

Republicans want a speedy confirmation hearing ahead of the Nov. 3 general election. Democrats say that goes against the precedent the GOP set in 2016.

That year, Republicans blocked confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, then-President Barack Obama's choice to replace the late-Justice Antonin Scalia, saying the general election, which was nearly nine months away, was too close.

Amy Coney Barrett:5 things you need to know about Trump's likely Supreme Court nominee

Although the general election is less than 50 days away, Republicans plan to move ahead with confirmation hearings once Trump's nominee is announced. They are pushing to have the new nominee confirmed by Election Day on Nov. 3. Many of the president's allies have said a full nine-member court needs to be in place for the general election to resolve any potential disputes.

Trump's critics are also pointing to Ginsburg's reported dying wish that her replacement not be picked by Trump.

A new era of the Supreme Court

Barrett's confirmation could mean conservative dominance for decades in the highest court of the nation,  with Republican appointees holding a 6-3 advantage.

That could impact many issues including, abortion, civil rights, health care, police powers, free speech and government regulations in general.

Presidential nominee Joe Biden and other Democrats have raised concerns about a major health care case that is pending before the Supreme Court and the future of the Affordable Care Act if it isdecided by an overwhelmingly conservative court.

Contributing: Maureen Groppe, David Jackson and Richard Wolf, USA TODAY