Judge Amy Coney Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she knew she’d be putting her family through the ringer by saying yes to President Donald Trump‘s plan to nominate her for the Supreme Court.
‘We knew that our lives would be combed over for any negative detail, we knew our faith would be caricatured, our family would be attacked, and so we had to decide whether those difficulties would be worth it,’ Barrett said.
Barrett said her family ultimately did, and introduced her six kids who attended Tuesday’s hearing, as well as her six siblings.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett introduced her family at Tuesday’s hearing including her children (from left, first row) Liam, Vivian, Tess, Juliet, Emma, J.P. and husband Jesse and then siblings (from left, second row) Vivian, Eilieen, Michael, Megan and Amanda. Sister Carrie was seated across the aisle
Amy Coney Barrett’s daughter Emma (left), her son J.P. (center) and her husband Jesse (right) were seated behind the Supreme Court nominee during her Tuesday Judiciary Committee hearing
Judge Amy Coney Barrett (right) introduces members of her family (from left) including daughter Tess, daugher Juliet, daughter Emma, son J.P., husband Jesse and behind them her sisters Vivian and Eilieen, her brother Michael, and her sisters Megan and Amanda
Amy Coney Barrett’s sixth sibling, sister Carrie, was seated behind her (upper right, in red) while the rest of her family, including six of her seven kids and husband Jesse took up one side of the Judiciary Committee hearing room
Amy Coney Barrett’s siblings and children walk into the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room Tuesday on Capitol Hill
Her youngest child, Benjamin, has special needs and wasn’t in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room Tuesday.
Barrett pointed out her husband Jesse and her adopted son J.P. She then moved on to daughters Emma, Juliet, Tess and Vivian. Vivian, like J.P., was also adopted from Haiti. She then pointed to her son Liam, finishing out the front row.
Behind her children were four of her five sisters – Vivian, Eilieen, Megan and Amanda – and brother, Michael, too.
Her sixth sister Carrie, Barrett noted, was seated across the aisle.
The entire family wore masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham had asked Barrett ‘how’s it feel to be nominated for the Supreme Court of the United States?’ at the top of Tuesday’s hearing.
‘Well, senator, I’ve tried to be on a media blackout for the sake of my mental health,’ Barrett said. ‘But you can’t keep yourself walled off from everything. I’m aware of a lot of caricatures floating around.’
Barrett is Catholic and a group she’s associated with, People of Praise, has been referred to in the media as ‘cult-like.’ A Boston University professor called Barrett a ‘white colonizer’ with her two adopted Black kids, suggesting she used them as ‘props.’
‘I’ve made distinct choices, I’ve decided to pursue a career and have a large family, I have a multi-racial familly, our faith is important to us,’ Barrett said. ‘All of those things are true, but they are my choices and in my personal interactions – I have a life brimming with people who have made different choices – and I have never tried in my personal life to impose my choices on them. And the same is true professionally.’
She then explained why she decided to go forward with the nomination, calling the process ‘really difficult’ and even ‘excruciating.’
‘What sane person would go through that if that weren’t a benefit on the other side?’ Barrett asked.
‘I was asked and it would be difficult for anyone, so why should I say someone else should do the difficulty is the only reason to say no, I should serve my country,’ Barrett explained. ‘And my family’s all in on that because they share my belief in the rule of law.’
The top Democrat in the committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, complimented Barrett for her kids’ behavior when it was her turn to speak.
‘They sit still, quiet, you’ve done a very good job,’ the California Democrat said.
The judge joked that she had ‘eyes in the back of my head.’
‘So I’m always watching,’ Barrett said.
Later she also told the senator that ‘it’s improv’ when asked by Feinstein if she had a ‘magic formula’ on how she handled her work-life balance.