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Barrett Says Family ‘Wept’ Over George Floyd Video, Answers Questions On ‘Systemic Racism’
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Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett called the death of George Floyd “very, very personal” for her family, noting during day two of her confirmation hearing that she “wept” with one of her daughters over the Floyd video.

Barrett has seven children, two of whom were adopted from Haiti: Vivian and John Peter.

“Have you seen the George Floyd video? What impact did it have on you?” asked Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

“Senator, as you might imagine, given that I have two black children, that was very, very personal for my family,” Barrett answered, according to the New York Post.

“It was very difficult for her (Vivian), and we wept together in my room,” she continued. “It was also difficult for my daughter Juliet, who’s 10. I had to try to explain some of this to them.”

“I mean, my children, to this point in their lives, have had the benefit of growing up in a cocoon where they have not yet experienced hatred or violence and for Vivian, to understand that there would be a risk to her brother or the son she might have one day of that kind of brutality, has been an ongoing conversation,” said Barrett, adding, “It’s a difficult one for us like it is for Americans all over the country.”

The judge did not, however, make a definitive statement on if there’s so-called “systemic racism” within institutions in the country.

“I think it is an entirely uncontroversial and obvious statement, given as we just talked about the George Floyd video, that racism persists in our country,” Barrett said of general racism, adding, “As to putting my finger on the nature of the problem, whether, as you say, it’s just outright or systemic racism or how to tackle the issue of making it better, those things are policy questions.”

“They’re hotly contested policy questions that have been in the news and discussed all summer,” the 48-year-old argued. “Giving broader statements or making broader diagnoses about the problem of racism is kind of beyond what I’m capable of doing as a judge.”


Earlier in the hearing, Barrett said she would not commit one way or the other on matters regarding Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion case that would push the legalization of abortion back to the states if overturned.

Barrett said that expressing a view on a precedent would signal to litigants “that I might tilt one way or another in a pending case.”

“Do you agree with Justice Scalia’s view that Roe [v. Wade] was wrongly decided?” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) pressed the judge.

“Senator, I do wanna be forthright and answer every question so far as I can. I think on that question, I’m gonna invoke Justice Elena Kagan’s description, which I think is perfectly put. When she was in her confirmation hearing, she said that she was not gonna grade precedent, give a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. … It would be wrong and a violation of the canons for me to do that as a sitting judge.”

“If I express a view on a precedent one way or another, whether I say I love it or I hate it, it signals to litigants that I might tilt one way or another in a pending case,” reasoned Barrett.

Related: Barrett Asked To Hold Up Notes She’s Using To Answer Questions. She Holds Up A Blank Notepad.

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