The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
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.