When Christine Baglow moved from New Orleans to South Bend, Indiana, two years ago, she found herself having dinner with a woman with a great resume: a former Supreme Court official, a professor at Notre Dame Law School, a U.S. District Court of Appeals judge. the seventh round.
The woman was Amy Connie Barrett, and she and Baglow had mutual friends.
The judge turned out to be “extremely pleasant,” Baglow said. “I found her to be a very kind and very attentive person. Very kind and authentic.
“I probably had the least degree or education of all at this table, but to be politely listened to and asked for my opinion, especially on things related to children and teenagers, I thought it was very good.
Baglow, 49, is the director of a youth ministry at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in South Bend, which Barrett and her family attend.
“Not everyone with her level of education reacts to people that way, and she definitely did,” Baglow said.
Now, as America swallows news of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, amid frantic speculation about who will replace liberal justice and when, Barrett’s name has come to the fore.
Donald Trump tweeted that he would choose Ginsburg’s deputy “immediately,” and said he would choose a woman.
But the presidential election is on November 3 and early voting has begun. In a bitterly divided state, the haste of Senate Republicans to fill the vacant Supreme Court position has become another lightning rod. On Sunday, Democratic nominee Joe Biden called Trump’s plan to fill Ginsburg’s place immediately an “abuse of power.”
Barrett has some experience with the storm. She was on Trump’s list of possible nominees in 2018 when he was considering who to replace Anthony Kennedy, who is retiring. But the president had other plans for Barrett.
“I’m saving it for Ginsburg,” Trump said, according to a report by Axios last year.
In Barrett, 48, conservatives see a young, strict builder who interprets the constitution through what she believes her writers, Antonin Scalia, a conservative justice lawyer (and a close friend of Ginsburg’s), who died in February 2016 and for whom Barrett servant.
The fact that the devout Catholic mother of seven, she and her husband Jesse M. Barrett, have five biological children and adopted two from Haiti, is considered a potential successor to Ginsburg, raising concerns among progressives. Many fear that if confirmed on the bench, Barrett will vote to repeal Rowe against Wade, the 1973 decision guaranteeing the right to abortion.
Barrett opposes abortion. And she has already asked questions about her faith and her role in how she views the law.
During the confirmation hearing in 2017, Sen. Diane Feinstein of California commented, “Dogma lives loudly in you.”
Some said the remark was discriminatory against Catholics. But some who know Barrett have said that the line of questioning is at the heart of what makes her a good candidate for the Supreme Court, as her answers show a dispassionate temperament and calm demeanor.
“Some of the senators have raised the question of whether her religious beliefs can influence the way she interprets the law,” said Paolo G. Carotza, a fellow Notre Dame law professor. “I just found it, to be honest, kind of funny.
“Knowing her as well as I do, and seeing the way she works, the only way her religious beliefs will affect what she does as a judge is that they give her the humility to say, ‘This what I do is all about the law and everything about the interpretation of the law and the core values of maintaining the rule of law and the legal system and nothing else. “
As Barrett’s star rose, the focus of the media and Democrats on her views on abortion disappointed others in the Notre Dame community. Former student Alex Blair, now a lawyer at the Chicago firm Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, directed the Guardian to a comment he gave to the South Bend Tribune.
“It was disorienting to see the smartest person I know, reduced to how she can vote on an issue when it’s much more than that,” he said in 2018.
Carrosa remembers Barrett as the best law student when he came to a college in Notre Dame in 1996. He said he thought such a poll by Senate Democrats was unfair because Barrett did not write his religion in his opinions and did not is a man to proselytize.
“I don’t think it’s unfair to ask someone who has been appointed to the judiciary about their religious beliefs,” he said. “If someone says, ‘I will interpret the law according to what the Qur’an says or what the Bible says,’ that is something we would not want in our republic.”
“What makes her unfair in this case is that this is claimed solely on the basis of the knowledge that she is a religious person, and not on any evidence in the things she has written or in the way she has held, which may prevent the administration from the law. “