Oct 05 2020
President’s Nominee Could Shape High Court for a Generation
President Trump struck gold with his selection of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court. She is an outstanding pick who has the right character, temperament, and philosophy to serve on our nation’s highest court. As an accomplished professor and judge, Barrett has shown that she understands the role of a judge is to set aside personal views and be bound by our laws and Constitution. Her intellect and philosophy are so strong that during her previous judicial nomination, she received the endorsement of the entire faculty at Notre Dame Law School, where she taught for 15 years.
Recently I had the chance to meet with Judge Barrett. We covered a number of topics during our approximately 25-minute chat. She showed the same gracious spirit all of us had witnessed at her announcement ceremony the previous Saturday. I especially enjoyed hearing about her upbringing in Metairie, Louisiana, and her undergraduate education at Rhodes College in neighboring Memphis.
Judge Barrett was already a familiar face in the Senate before her recent nomination. It was only three years ago that senators vetted her, questioned her, and confirmed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. I supported her confirmation, as did every Senate Republican and three Democrats. The Judiciary Committee will soon hold another hearing for Judge Barrett, allowing her to share her record and philosophy with the American people.
Judge Barrett Is Committed to the Constitution
Judge Barrett has spent her entire adult life in service to our Constitution and founding principles. Her legal career began in 1997 when she graduated at the top of her class from Notre Dame Law School. As a professor, she became a strong advocate for the conservative legal philosophy of her late mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia.
Judge Barrett has followed that approach as a circuit judge. She has authored dissenting opinions defending the Second Amendment and certain Trump Administration immigration policies. She has been a leading defender of due process rights for the accused. And when her court struck down two pro-life laws in Indiana, she disagreed and defended the state’s right to tighten abortion regulations.
Amy Coney Barrett could be the most important addition to the Supreme Court in a generation. She is already President Trump’s third Supreme Court pick in four years – a remarkable feat. But more importantly, she would be the first conservative to replace a liberal on the court since 1991. If she is confirmed, six of the court’s nine justices will have been appointed by Republicans. At just 48 years old, Barrett could shape the court for decades to come.
Barrett Reflects American Values
For many years, the Supreme Court has lacked voices from the American heartland. Every sitting member of the court attended law school at Harvard or Yale, and all except for Neil Gorsuch grew up on the East or West Coast. Judge Barrett brings a different background. She hails from Middle America and would bring a much-needed perspective to the nation’s highest court.
Born in the Deep South, Barrett has spent most of her adult life in Indiana, a state known as the Crossroads of America. She is the daughter of a longtime deacon and the oldest of seven children. Today, she has seven children of her own, including two adopted from Haiti and one with special needs. She has already balanced many challenges as a mom, a professional, and a public servant. As a grandfather to five young girls, I believe Barrett’s service on the Supreme Court – like that of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – will be an inspiration to my granddaughters and others of their generation.