(CNN)By nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, President Donald Trump took the first step Saturday toward solidifying a 6-3 conservative majority on the high court, a shift that could usher in sweeping changes to health care, as well as abortion, voting and gun rights. But the moment also served as an overture to female voters as Trump tries to address a historic gender gap in the polls.
As Barrett spoke in the Rose Garden before an audience that included her seven children — as a nominee, Trump noted, who could become the first mother of school-aged children to serve on the high court — she showed how challenging it will be for Democrats to vilify her as a frightening figure who would join the court’s conservative majority in rolling back abortion rights and stripping Americans of their health care protections.
The federal appellate judge, who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in the late 1990s, was introduced Saturday evening by Trump as a woman with a “towering intellect” and “unyielding loyalty to the Constitution” whom he chose because she is one of the “nation’s most brilliant and gifted legal minds.”
In her own speech, Barrett skillfully conveyed the attributes of her judicial philosophy that have endeared her to conservatives. But she also touched on elements of her own biography as a “room parent, carpool driver and birthday party planner” that seemed intended to make her a relatable figure to the key voting bloc of suburban independent and Republican-leaning women who could be unnerved by her conservative views on abortion and health care.