Judge Barrett: "For me to say, I am not willing to undertake it even though I think this is something important, would be a little cowardly and I would not be answering a call to serve my country."

"If we are to protect our institutions, and protect the freedoms, and protect the rule of law that is the basis for society and the freedom  we all enjoy, if we want that for our children and our children's children, then we need to participate in that work."

|

During the second day of the hearing, Judge Barrett explained why she was willing to go through the confirmation process. Her answer explained that she was pursuing a higher calling, of service before self. She returned to that theme during a colloquy with Senator Tillis. The clip starts at the 4:00 mark and ends at 7:17.

SEN. TILLIS: I have to thank you again. My daughter was thrilled that you signed the two constitutions for my two granddaughters. They will cherish it someday when I can explain what it really means. One is three and the other is eight weeks. I really enjoyed that discussion. And I asked you there something I would like you to share with the committee. You have stellar academic credentials. You have a stellar record as a Professor and you have done an excellent job on the Seventh Circuit. And you have been a great mother and wife. You have so many options and there are so many things you could be doing besides going through the first confirmation hearing, which was was not pleasant. I was there, and remember it. You knew this would be more challenging. I asked you when we met, why would you do this, knowing how this was going to play out, knowing you would be attacked and unfairly treated, and I think to a level that maybe some of your constitutional rights were questionably denied. Why are you doing this Judge Barrett? Why not say thanks, but no thanks, and leave it to someone else?

JUDGE BARRETT: As I said to Senator Graham yesterday, and I think this was part and parcel of the conversation you and I had, this is a very difficult process, actually, I would use the excruciating. Over the weeks, the knowledge that people are going to say horrible things, that your entire life will be combed over, that you will be mocked, that your children will be attacked. One might wonder why any sane person would undertake that risk and that task unless it was for the sake of something good. And as I said yesterday to Senator Graham, I do think the rule of law and its importance in the United States, I do think the role of the Supreme Court is important. It is a great good. It would be difficult for anybody in this seat. I think everyone knows the confirmation process is very difficult. For me to say no, other people could do this job, but the same difficulty will be present for everyone. For me to say, I am not willing to undertake it even though I think this is something important, would be a little cowardly and I would not be answering a call to serve my country in the way that I was asked. I also think in our conversation I said my children were part of the reason not to do it, because my son Liam got very upset yesterday during questioning, and we had to call him in the car. He didn't stick it out till the end. I'm surprised he stuck it out as long as he did. Liam got very upset at the questioning and Senator Kennedy referenced some of the other things that have happened to the children in the process. I said to before any of that happened that in many ways, the children are the reason not to do it, but they are also the reason to do it. Because if we are to protect our institutions, and protect the freedoms, and protect the rule of law that is the basis for society and the freedom  we all enjoy, if we want that for our children and our children's children, then we need to participate in that work.

I think these remarks tell us more about Judge Barrett's jurisprudence than a million questions on severability would. Brava.

NEXT: Eighth Circuit Seals Published (Printed) Opinion, Later Grants Our Motion to Unseal

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This…doesn’t say much anyone else in that position would say.

    1. And yet we’ve had other confirmations in living memory and no one else in that position did say it.

      Maybe, just maybe, it’s not the empty platitude you’re trying to make it. At least, not to her.

  2. Again, this is ridiculously obsequious.

    Barrett is being appointed to the Supreme Court, for Pete’s sake. The notion that a few uncomfortable weeks might make that unattractive is idiotic.

    It’s a lifetime appointment to the most prestigious job an American lawyer can hold, one of the most prestigious legal positions in the world. But somehow it’s all selfless sacrifice for which Barrett is to be virtually canonized, per Blackman.

    This guy really is a piece of work.

    Tell us, Josh, what would you go through for that appointment?

    1. He might even be willing to listen to read all your comments. No, that’s too much for a mere mortal to withstand.

      1. He’d learn a lot if he did.

    2. Can it even be worth it? (whatever post Blackman aims to achieve thru all this servile fawning)

  3. As an article in a school newspaper written by a thirteen-year-old, this would be about what one would expect.

    1. If the article is so awful, why are you wasting your time reading it? And then wasting more time with your “insightful” reply?

      1. You read solely high-quality writing, Rossami? You respond solely to high-quality arguments?

        That seems incompatible with being a clinger, but I suppose it is possible.

  4. Anyone who spouts that “public service” crap is immediately a liar. Anyone who believes it is a fool.

    It’s a job, Jim, with lots of potential for telling other people what to do. Perhaps a little less busybody than a Senator or some other elected politician, but still obtained by politics.

    1. “Anyone who spouts that “public service” crap is immediately a liar.” Anyone who believes it is a fool.”

      I disagree. I think there are some good people in this world. And tell me, what “politics” did Amy Coney Barrett engage in to get the nomination?

      1. And tell me, what “politics” did Amy Coney Barrett engage in to get the nomination?

        A long career of lack-of-virtue-signaling, embracing stale thinking, and suppressing the readily-based world to flatter superstition.

  5. Says more about Mr. Blackman.

    Judge Barrett is yet one more dangerous religious ideologue on the court to suit up with Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

    Kamala Harris set up Judget Barrett with three superb questions

    Do you believe coronavirus is infectious? Do you think that smoking causes cancer and finally does Judge Barrett accept that climate change is happening… Judge Barrett stated that she of course thought coronavirus was infectious but was less willing to state that smoking causes cancer and unwilling to even address the notion of climate change since she would not talk about controversial topics and really had not much thought about climate change herself since she is not a scientist. Good grief.

    But it was the answer to the smoking question that was the kicker and Senator Harris should have pounced but did not. Judge Barrett did not say she thought smoking caused cancer,she said that every package of cigarettes warns that smoking causes cancer. She further went on to claim that the statement smoking causing cancer is not contentious. But she did not argue that the EVIDENCE said is was so. She merely point out that the government, in the form of the surgeon generals warning, had made the claim that smoking causes cancer (and other health related issues). Thus she left open the possibility that the warning label may be challenged and she would defer to the requisite administrative and scientific experts if the law required her to. And the science can be challenged in a way that she would rule against the labels statements. How? The question on whether the coronavirus is infectious is key.

    So does the coronavirus pass the test of Kochs postulates? Well, not completely. It is pretty clear that people can be infected but remain asymptomatic and otherwise healthy. So does coronavirus cause the disease or are there other considerations that make the virus dangerous to one but not another? In law, this is called “but for cause”. But for coronavirus I would have been healthy but underlying conditions made me sensitive to its effects. So even with some people getting infected but showing no symptoms, the but for clause would impugn coronavirus as an infectious agent. And this gets to smoking. Many of the arguments made by the tobacco industry regards smoking not causing cancer are related to two observations. That not everyone who smoked got lung cancer and that some people who came down with lung cancer did not smoke. And for years statisticians went looking for confounding underlying variables to explain the away the discrepancies. And the cigarette companies exploited those statistical uncertainties to prevent a useful public health decision and ban the sale of cigarettes. Ultimately better statistics and causal analyses came into being and solved the matter. But nonetheless the seed was planted and it came to pass that at least in the conservative viewpoint, using statistics should not pass muster in a court of law or with administrative regulations. If you cannot prove that smoking caused a specific cancer, then by God you cannot hold smoking accountable for causing any cancer.

    The questions Kamala Harris posed were on the money. They were designed to deduce whether Judge Barret would argue based on the factual evidence in front of her and the answer is no, she would not.

    1. Unlike Kamala Harris — who got where she is by sleeping with someone — ACB is the real deal.

      1. If you think fairy tales are real, sure.

    2. Harris’ questions were mere grandstanding. Your analysis of them is unhinged.

      Any good scientist would have answered the questions the same way. Infectious diseases are infectious by definition. That can be definitively answered. Smoking causes cancer requires an analysis of statistical evidence. The evidence is strong and not controversial but if you haven’t personally conducted that statistical analysis, you are relying on the work of others and should, if you are careful, articulate the basis of your belief. Climate change also depends on indirect evidence – and it requires an understanding of statistical techniques far more advanced than was required to establish the causal link between smoking and certain cancers. So advanced, in fact, that they are beyond the capabilities of most “climatologists”. Mann’s statistical errors are an embarrassment. Despite that, his deeply flawed papers remain unretracted.

  6. My God, what an idiotic post.

    The judge is clearly highly qualified, and I have no doubt that she is a thoughtful and dedicated jurist, whether or not I want her on the court, and whether or not I agree with any particular decision that she might make. I doubt she’ll rule in a way that will reflect either the wildest fears of the liberals or the wildest hopes of the conservatives in the United States.

    But the level of obsequious ass-kissing in this post is beyond belief. She is about to be appointed to a position that is the ultimate dream of basically every constitutional lawyer in the United States, a position that places her among a small group of historic jurists and much smaller group of historic women jurists, and a position that gives her about as much power to shape American law as almost any other individual in the three branches of the United States government.

    And Hackman wants us to believe that her willingness to take this job is a sign of public-spirited selflessness. Gag me with a spoon, as the young people once said.

    1. I think your cynical remarks tell us much more about you than they do about ACB. There are no public-spirited selfless people in the world? Really?

      1. Yeah there are, they just aren’t typically setting themselves up for a lifetime of power and prestige. We usually have no idea who the truly selfless people are because they toil away in obscurity.
        A good example of being selfless is giving up your dream job to move back home so you can take care of an ailing parent instead of putting them in a nursing home. Getting on SCOTUS? Not so much.

        1. Ok. So there are public-spirited people in the world. It’s just that you somehow know that none of those people would accept a nomination to the Supreme Court. And by the way, how did ACB set herself up for this nomination? By getting good grades at school. By obtaining good clerkships through her meritorious achievements? By adhering to a judicial philosophy that she seems to sincerely believe in? By becoming a well-liked law professor? Wow, she’s been quite the schemer, hasn’t she? Not to mention that she managed to get someone elected to the presidency who decided to nominate a textualist to the Supreme Court, and managed to knock off Ginsburg while the Republicans held the Senate.

          1. You’re not describing selflessness, you’re just describing someone who advanced their career through hard work and ambition with probably a bit of charisma, networking, and luck thrown in. Admirable traits to be sure, but it’s not pure selflessness. She’s not giving anything up for someone else without thought to reward or honor for herself. She accepted a nomination to be a SCOTUS justice.

            Are there sacrifice and burdens associated with public service? Of course, but let’s not pretend she’s being forced to do this out of a sense of pure moral obligation or was plucked from obscurity to have greatness thrust upon her. She advanced her legal career cause she was interested in law and wanted to be good at it. She took prestigious positions as a high profile tenure track law professor and then a circuit judge and then accepted a nomination to be one of the nine most powerful judges in the world. She’s not a freaking martyr.

  7. I think these remarks tell us more about Judge Barrett’s jurisprudence than a million questions on severability would.

    This is deckchairs on the Titanic stuff, but… what do you think they tell you? Because nothing about any of that seems inconsistent with any mainstream American jurisprudential outlook.

Please to post comments