Judge Amy Coney Barrett will praise her mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and honor the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a brief series of remarks to open her Senate confirmation hearings Monday morning.
The four-page statement, issued to most major media outlets on Sunday, has Barrett focusing intently on her judicial qualifications and her theory of interpreting the law, rather than her background, family, or religion — something left-leaning and progressive activists have focused intently on over the past several weeks.
Instead, Barrett will address Democrats’ concerns that she will issue proclamations from the bench and “make law” with judicial rulings.
“Courts have a vital responsibility to enforce the rule of law, which is critical to a free society,” the statement reads. “But courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life. The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People.”
As in her statement at her nomination ceremony, Barrett notes, enthusiastically, her connections with Scalia. She served as one of his law clerks before going on to become first a law professor and then a judge herself. In her nomination ceremony, she noted that Scalia’s theory on the interpretation of the law was her own. In her new statement, she adds that she’s modeled her own private life on Scalia’s as well.
“Justice Scalia taught me more than just law,” her statement reads. “He was devoted to his family, resolute in his beliefs, and fearless of criticism. And as I embarked on my own legal career, I resolved to maintain that same perspective. There is a tendency in our profession to treat the practice of law as all-consuming while losing sight of everything else. But that makes for a shallow and unfulfilling life.”
Although many have been adamant about drawing a line separating Ginsburg and Barrett, Barrett does mention Ginsburg in her statement, as well, noting that Ginsburg paved the way for additional female justices on the Supreme Court.
“When I was 21 years old and just beginning my career, Ruth Bader Ginsburg sat in this seat,” Barrett notes. “She told the Committee, ‘What has become of me could only happen in America.’ I have been nominated to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat, but no one will ever take her place. I will be forever grateful for the path she marked and the life she led.”
POLITICO called the statement “expertly bland” in their story, suggesting that they believed Barrett may have staked out her position on specific issues — something any individual nominated for the Supreme Court is unlikely to do, lest they eventually be forced to recuse themselves from a case.
The DC-based outlet does note that Democrats are preparing to scale back their attacks on Barrett, limiting their public criticism to her previous commentary on the Affordable Care Act — she said merely that she disagreed with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision to classify the law’s individual insurance mandate as a “tax” — and not on Barrett’s personal beliefs, religious affiliations, or family life.
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