Less than two weeks after the death of lauded Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there were whispers of who could possibly be the next appointment to the historic seat.
When President Trump announced his appointment would be a woman, the rumors were seemingly confirmed, and it was then reported that he would nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the seat.
Amy Coney Barrett is herself a successful legal scholar and a brilliant mind in her own right, but she’s a noticeable departure from the rhetoric and priorities of her possible predecessor. She’s also a champion of the pro-life movement, a mother, and an extremely well-educated individual, one who could stand to be the next national role model for Christian conservative women.
Who Is Amy Coney Barrett?
At her formal nomination ceremony, President Trump described Honorable Judge Barrett as “a woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials, and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution.” Though Trump’s hyperbolic nature is usually well-recognized and very much on display in his addresses, his description of his choice of nomination is apropos, ideally so. Here's why.
She’s a graduate, summa cum laude, of the University of Notre Dame’s Law School, where she's also a member of the faculty, teaching courses on civil procedure and Constitutional law.
A woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials, and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution.
She has been published in numerous legal publications and law reviews from top schools across the country, and was voted a distinguished professor by three law school graduating classes. In 2017, she was appointed to serve as a judge in the Seventh District of the U.S. Court of Appeals.
In addition to her intimidating legal intellect and considerable scholarship, Honorable Judge Barrett is a practicing Catholic, and dedicated wife and mother to seven children.
The Significance of ACB
As Ruth Graham for The New York Times surmises, “For many conservative Christian women, the thrill of the nomination is more personal. Judge Barrett, for them, is a new kind of icon — one they have not seen before in American cultural and political life: a woman who is both unabashedly ambitious and deeply religious, who has excelled at the heights of a demanding profession even as she speaks openly about prioritizing her conservative Catholic faith and family.”
In the same way Justice Ginsburg was a role model for so many women across the country, Judge Barrett too is a new type of role model, a successful, proudly conservative one who hasn’t let the demands of ambition or a fulfilling personal life dominate one over the other.
Barrett is a new type of role model, one who has balanced the demands of ambition and a fulfilling personal life.
These still waters run even deeper, though, and what’s an inspiration for many is a cause for concern for others.
She’s staunchly pro-life. In her home state of Indiana, she voted to rehear a bill that would permit a minor to procure an abortion without parental notice or consent.
She’s pro-Second Amendment, in favor of due process for college students accused of sexual assault, and tough on immigration as well. But in her own words, as she said in the White House Rose Garden at her own judicial nomination on Saturday, she’s a “room parent, carpool driver, and birthday party planner.”
Understanding the Backlash
What’s endeared Amy Coney Barrett to many has condemned her in others’ eyes. And Trump’s choice was always going to be controversial, no matter what.
Her abortion views are, obviously, the linchpin in the dissent of her nomination for the left-leaning self-described feminist, and her Catholic faith has been targeted as well. Her adherence to her conscience, as mandated by her faith, has led some to label her as a “religious extremist,” drawing parallels between the country that Barrett’s appointment would supposedly lead to and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
Critical race theorist and writer Ibram X. Kendi tweeted recently about white parents “colonizing” their adopted children, and using them as “props.” Though he would not strictly confirm or deny if it was Barrett he was referring to in these tweets, it’s clear who he meant. (Two of Barrett’s children are adopted from Haiti.)
It’s interesting that a long-held, popular tactic of the pro-choice movement is to ask pro-life figures how many kids they’ve adopted in an effort to “gotcha” their beliefs. Even more so, it’s common to hear a narrative that children will deny a woman professional success and recognition. Barrett has falsified both of those notions, yet she’s still vilified — almost as if the manufactured outrage at her nomination is baseless and performative.
Barrett is the natural successor to Ginsburg’s seat. She’s educated, ambitious, experienced, down-to-earth, and supremely deserving of the nomination.
While Trump has not entirely endeared himself to many conservatives, his choice of judicial successor for a much sought-after position — a position with imposing shoes to fill — has generated a renewed interest in his administration, especially for Christian conservative females.
Trump, the Supreme Court, the GOP, and Democrats aside — looking at her education, lengthy resume, impressive professional acumen, and personal life away from the bench, Amy Coney Barrett is a nominee some of us, myself included, are only too eager to get behind.
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