Last week, U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee while facing aggressive questioning to determine her qualification to serve on the highest court in the land.
Barrett accepted President Trump’s nomination knowing her reputation, faith, and past qualifications would face unmerited scrutiny by those intent on delaying any attempts to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Despite the unfair treatment by Democratic senators, Barrett responded with a level of class that will leave a lasting testimony of courage for all Americans, especially women who hope to pursue a legal career.
Each day of questioning brought fresh challenges for Barrett. During the second day of hearings, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, inquired of Barrett if she would compromise with any political figure on cases in order to reach a desired verdict. This was important to ask because Democrats have frequently voiced fears that Barrett would rule according to her conservative worldview on cases that involve the Affordable Care Act, as well as other important matters.
In response to Cornyn’s question, Barrett made no allegiance to politicians or parties and distanced herself from these accusations, saying that she would “not…make a deal, not with the president, not with anyone. I’m independent.”
Perhaps the most preposterous and vile accusation came from Ibram X. Kendi, a professor at Boston University who accused Barrett of being a “white colonizer” for adopting two black children from Haiti. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., asked Barrett how she felt after hearing this attack. Barrett could easily have become emotional, which would have been understandable for any mother whose children were dragged into a political struggle. But once again, Barrett responded with a steady demeanor:
“It was the risk of people saying things like that, which would be so hurtful to my family, that when I told Senator Graham this morning that my husband and I had to really weigh the costs of this, it was saying deeply offensive and hurtful things.” Barrett further described Kendi’s comments as “things that are not only hurtful to me, but are hurtful to my children who are my children, who we love and who we brought home and made part of our family.”
On the final day of questioning, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., articulated their fears that Barrett’s religious beliefs would influence her decision-making in major cases like Roe vs. Wade. In doing so, the senators attempted not only to unjustly smear Barrett as a religious zealot but ignored the admonition set in Article 6 of the Constitution, which states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
Instead of crying foul, Barrett faced these questions by saying that “my own personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge.” Without dismissing her faith, she calmly defended her beliefs, saying that she did not need to forsake them in order to fulfill her duties as a judge.
Nothing in the confirmation process caught her off guard, and she responded to every question with a level of preparedness and grace that left everyone watching in admiration.
Trump 2020 advisory board member Harmeet Dhillon stated after day two of Barrett’s questioning that her calm demeanor was almost “supernatural.”
“In fact, it’s almost like she has a superpower by calmly sitting there and politely responding to these questions,” she said. “I think she made each and every one of them (the senators) look silly or worse.”
Barrett’s strength in the face of such aggressive opposition is indicative of the objectivity and reserve needed as a judge at any level but, imperatively, at the United States Supreme Court. She has shown that she possesses those characteristics – and a lot more.