Timothy Head: Amy Coney Barrett – Supreme Court pick will bring this much-needed quality to the bench

We need more humanitarians deciding the most vital issues of this country

President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett has been critiqued as a political move to ensure a ninth justice is on the Supreme Court if the election is challenged in November. The reality, however, is that Judge Barrett is an extremely qualified candidate for the high court.

She is also exactly the kind of justice of faith our country needs on the bench.  

A devout Catholic, she has been mocked for belonging to the People of Praise group. But many Americans who just read the headlines don’t know that Barrett has seven kids. They also don’t know that two of them are adopted from Haiti, one after the 2011 earthquake. Her youngest biological child has Down syndrome.  

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Judge Barrett doesn’t just talk the talk; she walks the walk. She is a humanitarian, and we need more humanitarians deciding the most vital issues of this country.  

The family's first adopted child, Vivian, weighed just 11 pounds when the Barretts adopted her at 14 months old. They were told that she might never walk normally or talk at all. Their second adopted child, John Peter, has special needs.  

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When the Barretts adopted these children, they weren’t famous. They had no idea that Amy Coney Barrett would become a household name years later. Instead, their faith and their hearts of service inspired them to welcome two children, whom many would see as “flawed,” into their family. The Barretts saw them as extraordinary. How many candidates for the Supreme Court can say the same?  

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Judge Barrett’s pro-family values are sorely needed at a time when so many families are fractured. More than one in four children in America today live without a father in the home. There are more than 400,000 children in foster care and more than 100,000 waiting to be adopted. Half of all children in the U.S. will witness the end of a parent's marriage. We are a nation of broken families, and we need role models like Judge Barrett in positions of leadership.  

She has been criticized for her pro-life beliefs, but America desperately needs them. This year has been marked by illness and conflict. As we watch the number of COVID-19 victims rise on our screen, we need the blessing and celebration of life.  

Every person – no matter how small, or how different from the ordinary – deserves the dignity of life and deserves to be loved. While there are no exact numbers on how many children are aborted after a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, we do know that abortion after prenatal diagnosis has reduced the population of individuals living with DS in the U.S. by approximately 30%.  

Life, family and marriage – three things that Amy Coney Barrett believes in – are the foundations of a free society.  

Life, family and marriage – three things that Amy Coney Barrett believes in – are the foundations of a free society.  

Judge Barrett has also been criticized for being too “devout.” Since when did believing in God too much become a character flaw? Faithfulness is something to admire and emulate, not something to condemn. Our nation was built on Christian values. In fact, in all 50 state constitutions, God or the divine is mentioned at least once. I admire Barrett’s unapologetic belief in God.  

Moreover, Judge Barrett is an incredibly qualified candidate. A law professor and a member of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, she is a graduate of Notre Dame Law School (where she was executive editor of the Notre Dame Law Review).  

She is also not as polarizing as the media makes her out to be. When she was nominated for the appeal court, she was supported by a bipartisan group of law professors, who wrote in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, “Although we have differing perspectives on the methods and conclusions in her work, we all agree that Professor Barrett’s contributions to legal scholarship are rigorous, fair-minded, respectful, and constructive.”  

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And during her 2017 confirmation hearing for the 7th Circuit, when she was asked whether she would be able to separate her religious beliefs from her duty as a judge, she said that a judge should never impose his or her personal convictions on the law. 

Our judiciary leaders have a responsibility to safeguard human welfare in this country. Amy Coney Barrett is the humanitarian we need on the Supreme Court bench. Let’s stop focusing on why she’s politically convenient (or inconvenient), and start respecting her as an accomplished woman of the law and someone who has practiced what she preaches.  

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