America is about to learn the name of Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court. Barrett’s colleagues and former students, many of whom do not share her conservative views, describe her as a brilliant lawyer and a generous human being. Every full-time Notre Dame Law School faculty member endorsed her prior nomination to become a federal judge, stating that she “possesses in abundance” the qualities that make an extraordinary jurist, including “discipline, intellect, wisdom, impeccable temperament, and above all, fundamental decency and humanity.” Utah Sen. Mike Lee has called her “exactly the kind of person we need.”
Barrett’s nomination has already drawn a vitriolic reaction from the liberal Left. During her prior confirmation hearings, Democratic senators implied that Barrett’s Catholic faith would prevent her from applying the law impartially. Senator Lee came to the defense of both Barrett and religious liberty at the time, saying rightly that a nominee’s religious faith has “nothing to do with the nominee’s competency, patriotism, or ability to serve Americans of different faiths equally.” Nonetheless, these same Democratic senators have said that Barrett’s religious beliefs are not “off-limits” when she comes before the Senate again.
Barrett’s antagonists also seem to resent her family choices. She is the mother of seven children, including a son with Down Syndrome and two black children adopted from Haiti. Opponents have criticized the size of her family and her fitness to serve simultaneously as both a mother of young children and a Supreme Court justice. (It’s worth noting that no such criticism was leveled at any male nominee for the Court, including one who had nine children). Several critics on the Left also find fault with Barrett’s decision as a white parent to adopt black children.
Beyond these personal attacks, opponents have found little to criticize in Barrett’s legal record. Democratic senators claim that she will “criminalize abortion” and “eliminate health care for millions.” But there is no evidence for either of these hyperbolic claims. Her opponents seem to believe that even reasonable restrictions on abortion, such as parental notification in the case of a minor seeking an abortion, somehow amount to “criminalization.” And it stretches credulity to allege that a mother of a Down Syndrome child wants to eliminate people’s health care.
Notwithstanding her fervent opposition, Barrett has the majority she needs to receive a confirmation vote in the Senate. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney waited to share publicly his intentions, as rumors ran rampant that he would side with the Democrats following his vote to impeach President Trump. But he soon lined up behind the effort to move ahead with the nomination, pointing out to the chagrin of many liberals that a liberal court is “not written in the stars” and calling America a “center-right” nation.
Barrett has exceptional qualifications as a professor, litigator, and federal judge. The American Bar Association – often skeptical of conservative judges – gave her its highest rating of “well qualified.” Perhaps in an earlier era the media would have celebrated her achievements. She deserves our admiration and recognition. Utah’s senators should lead the charge to confirm Amy Coney Barrett swiftly. America needs her wisdom and decency on the Supreme Court.
Corey Astill is a former senior advisor in the U.S. Senate and co-host of the “Conservative Minds” podcast. He lives with his family in Lehi, Utah.