Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Tuesday acknowledged the caricatures of her and the attacks on her faith and family but said it’s worth enduring because she is committed to the rule of law and wants to serve her country.
It was the second day of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Barrett, who would replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Barrett has been criticized by the Left for her deep Catholic faith and her membership in a Christian community, People of Praise.
On Sunday, protesters who oppose her nomination walked outside the U.S. Supreme Court dressed in red robes – a reference to the novel and television series, The Handmaid's Tale, a story set in a patriarchal society.
In People of Praise, Barrett reportedly was a “handmaid” – a title that predates the modern tale and is taken directly from Scripture. Mary called herself the “handmaid of the Lord.”
“I've tried to be on a media blackout for the sake of my mental health, but you know you can't keep yourself walled off from everything,” Barrett told senators. “And I'm aware of a lot of the caricatures that are floating around.”
Barrett then addressed the mainstream media and social media discussion about her career and family.
“I've made distinct choices. I've decided to pursue a career and have a large family,” said Barrett, who is the mother of seven children. “I have a multiracial family. Our faith is important to us. All of those things are true, but they are my choices. And in my personal interactions with people – I mean, I have a life brimming with people who've made different choices, and I've never tried in my personal life to impose my choices on them. And the same is true professionally.”
Barrett said she and her husband, Jesse, decided the criticism they would receive would be worth the opportunity to serve on the Supreme Court.
“I don't think it's any secret to any of you or to the American people that this is a really difficult – some might say excruciating – process,” she said. “And Jesse and I had a very brief amount of time to make a decision with momentous consequences for our family. We knew that our lives would be combed over for any negative detail. We knew that our faith would be caricatured, we knew our family would be attacked. And so we had to decide whether those difficulties would be worth it, because what sane person would go through that if there wasn't a benefit on the other side?
“And the benefit I think is that I'm committed to the rule of law and the role of the Supreme Court and dispensing equal justice for all,” Barrett said. “I'm not the only person who could do this job, but I was asked, and it would be difficult for anyone. So why should I say someone else should do the difficulty – if the difficulty is the only reason to say no? I should serve my country. And my family is all in on that because they share my belief in the rule of law.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Pool
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.