SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Western Mass News spoke with legal studies and political science professor on President Donald Trump's latest U.S. Supreme Court nominee and how this could shift the bench.

Western Mass News spoke to one expert, who said if Judge Amy Coney Barrett were to be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, it could move forward with a conservative agenda for perhaps decades to come.

"Judge Barrett is a Seventh Circuit judge, she has a very conservative background," said UMass Amherst Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science Paul Collins.

President Donald Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to fill the vacant seat in the wake of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.

Collins said he expects that Barrett would undo many of the things Ginsburg accomplished throughout her career.

"RBG was a champion of equal rights. I think a court moving forward with Judge Barrett will undo some of the fundamental rights of LGBTQ+ Americans, and will certainly restrict access to abortion," he explained.

This is President Trump's third time nominating someone to a Supreme Court vacancy. This is something Collins said is highly unusual for a first-term president.

"Many recent presidents got no justices, for example, Jimmy Carter," he said. "This indicates a fundamental problem with the way we select Supreme Court justices. They seem to fall almost at random at the lap of presidents."

The nomination comes as some Senators have said they do not support voting on the nomination of a Supreme Court just ahead of the Presidential Election.

"So now we have a situation in which we’re ignoring the Merrick Garland President, and we’re trying to move forward with what appears to be the Supreme Court appointment, not only in an election year but less than 40 days before a Presidential Election," Collins noted.

Collins told Western Mass News the race to fill the seat could impact how voters turnout in the upcoming November election.

"It seems now that Democratic voters care more about a Supreme Court vacancy seat than do Republican voters, and that could rally them to turn out to vote for Joe Biden more," he added.

The confirmation hearing scheduled in the Senate Judiciary Committee for Judge Barrett would begin October 12 with opening statements. The schedule is subject to change if something unexpected happens in the next few weeks.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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