Judge Barrett Explains Why She Accepted the Supreme Court Nomination

Judge Barrett Explains Why She Accepted the Supreme Court Nomination
Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of her Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Oct. 14, 2020. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)
Janita Kan

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett revealed on Wednesday that while she knew the Senate confirmation process would be “excruciating,” she accepted the nomination to the nation’s highest court because of a strong call to serve her country.

Barrett made the comments during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, when several senators asked her to share why she decided to accept the nomination given the difficulties she would face.

“This is a very difficult process, actually, I think I would use the word excruciating. The knowledge that people are going to say horrible things, that your entire life will be combed over, that you'll be mocked, that your children will be attacked,” Barrett told Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) during the third day of the hearings.

“So one might wonder why any sane person would undertake that risk, that task, unless it was for the sake of something good. As I said yesterday to Senator Graham, I do think the rule of law and its importance in the United States, and I think the role of the Supreme Court is important. It is a great good,” she added.

She said the confirmation process would present the same difficulties for anyone who is nominated to the Supreme Court, adding that “for me to say I’m not willing to undertake it even though I think it is something important would be a little cowardly.”

“And I wouldn’t be answering a call to serve my country in the way I was asked,” she said.

Barrett said that her children were part of the reason why she was hesitant to accept the nomination but was also a reason to face the challenge.

“If we are to protect our institutions, and protect the freedoms, and protect the rule of law that is the basis of this society and freedoms that we all enjoy, if we want that for our children and children’s children, then we need to participate in that work,” she said.

She gave a similar response to committee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday when asked about how she felt about the nomination.

Barrett said that after the nomination, she had attempted a media blackout but she was aware of the “caricatures” that have been made of her, her husband Jesse, and her children in the media and the public.

“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 that our family would be attacked. 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?” she said.

She said that after she and her family considered the benefit of going through the nomination, her family was all on board.

“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,” she said. “My family is all in on that because they share my belief in the rule of law.”