Judge Barrett Is ‘A Woman Of Unassailable Integrity’ Who Will Be ‘A Role Model For Generations To Come’

Former Students And Clerks For Judge Barrett Say She ‘Exhibit[s] The Rare And Unique Set Of Qualities That Make An Exemplary Judge’ And Are Grateful For ‘Her Compassionate Heart’ While Legal Colleagues Recognize ‘She Is Tailor-Made For This Job’


Laura Wolk, Judge Barrett’s Former Law Student And Mentee: ‘Should You Confirm Amy Barrett, The Country Will Receive Something Far Greater Than Simply An Unparalleled Legal Mind,’ ‘She Will Serve This Country With Distinction Not Only Because Of Her Intellectual Prowess, But Also Because Of Her Compassionate Heart And Her Years Of Practice Treating Others As Equals Deserving Of Complete Respect’

LAURA WOLK, Judge Barrett’s former student: “My name is Laura Wolk, and I am a former student and mentee of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. In part because of her unwavering support, I am the first blind woman to serve as a law clerk on the Supreme Court of the United States. It is now my immense privilege to appear before you in support of Judge Barrett’s nomination to that same great institution. … I am here to tell you that should you confirm Amy Barrett, the country will receive something far greater than simply an unparalleled legal mind.  The Supreme Court—and therefore all Americans—will gain the service of one of the kindest individuals I have ever known. Her brilliance is matched only by her compassion, and her honesty is beyond reproach. I do not speak in mere abstractions. Rather, I have experienced these characteristics firsthand, with life-changing results.” (Laura Wolk, U.S. Senate Judiciary Hearing, 10/15/2020)

  • LAURA WOLK: “I arrived on campus [at Notre Dame] to find that bureaucratic glitches left me without access to [assistive] technology. And, almost as if on cue, my personal laptop immediately began to fail. Overnight, I found myself struggling to keep up in class, and I began to fall more and more behind with each passing hour. I needed help, and I needed it fast. To my great fortune, I had been randomly assigned to Judge Barrett’s civil procedure class as part of my first semester schedule.  Though I had only known her for a few weeks, her rare combination of graciousness and warmth gave me hope that she could assist me in procuring the technology from Notre Dame as a stopgap measure until I could fix my own. Nevertheless, I entered her office with relatively low expectations. … But Judge Barrett did something altogether different. She sat silently, listening with deep attention as I explained my situation. She exuded calm and compassion, giving me the freedom to let down my guard and come apart. As a person with a disability, I am constantly playing the role of self-advocate. I am accustomed to projecting an air of self-assuredness even when I do not feel it, of acting like I have everything under control when in reality the world feels like it is spinning out from under me. But in front of Judge Barrett, I was able to let the mask slip— indeed, to disappear completely. I poured out all of my concerns—my worries about failing classes, having to choose between completing my assignments and figuring out how to get to the grocery store independently, and feeling as though the energy spent troubleshooting these issues was preventing me from forging friendships. When I finished, Judge Barrett leaned forward and looked at me intently. ‘Laura,’ she said, with the same measured conviction that she has displayed throughout her nomination process, ‘this is no longer your problem. It’s my problem.’” (Laura Wolk, U.S. Senate Judiciary Hearing, 10/15/2020)
  • LAURA WOLK: “Anyone who has interacted with [Judge Barrett] knows that she is a woman of her word.  She means what she says, and she says what she means. When she promised that she would advocate for me, not just with me, she commanded my trust. I knew, instantly, that Judge Barrett would deliver. I was not disappointed. To this day, I do not know how Judge Barrett advocated on my behalf, which is itself a testament to her humility. All I know is that the problem was quickly resolved. This allowed me to excel in my first semester and to place me in a position that would eventually enable me to pursue the seemingly impossible dream of clerking on the Supreme Court.” (Laura Wolk, U.S. Senate Judiciary Hearing, 10/15/2020)

LAURA WOLK: “And so, it should come as no surprise that, when it came time to consider applying for a clerkship on the Supreme Court, it was Judge Barrett’s opinion that I valued most. I knew that if she—this woman of towering intellect and unfailing honesty—told me that I was up for the task and should not allow my disability to dissuade me from applying, I once again had no choice but to believe her. Like so many other times before, Amy Coney Barrett’s judgment proved sound.  In no small part because of her assistance and support, I can proudly state that I completed my clerkship successfully, fully confident in the knowledge that I participated on equal footing with my sighted colleagues.” (Laura Wolk, U.S. Senate Judiciary Hearing, 10/15/2020)

LAURA WOLK: “I am here today to share with you my story. But to me, the very best aspect of that story is that it is far from unique. Those who have had the benefit of knowing Amy Coney Barrett could fill volumes recounting her numerous acts of quiet, humble service. Whether she is assisting a combat veteran to work through the debilitating pain he suffered as a result of his injuries, advising a married woman on how best to balance work and family obligations, or helping an inexperienced student prepare for an upcoming high-stakes interview, Judge Barrett possesses a boundless font of energy and a radical sense of love that she is ever-ready to pour out upon those lucky enough to call her teacher, boss, family, and friend. My relationship with Judge Barrett has taught me that she is a woman of unassailable integrity. She will serve this country with distinction not only because of her intellectual prowess, but also because of her compassionate heart and her years of practice treating others as equals deserving of complete respect. As a beneficiary of both of these qualities, I urge you to confirm Judge my Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States.” (Laura Wolk, U.S. Senate Judiciary Hearing, 10/15/2020)


Amanda Rauh-Bieri, Judge Barrett’s Former Law Clerk: ‘As A Supreme Court Justice, [Judge Barrett] Would Be A Role Model For Generations To Come,’ ‘Judge Barrett Leads, In Law And In Life, With Conviction, Generosity, And Courage—And She Inspires Me To Do The Same’

AMANDA RAUH-BIERI, Judge Barrett’s Former Law Clerk: “I am deeply honored to speak to you about someone who has had an outsized effect on my life as a former boss and cherished mentor, Judge Amy Coney Barrett. I know Judge Barrett to be a person of the highest character, and I sincerely and enthusiastically support her nomination to be an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. I had the privilege to serve as a law clerk during Judge Barrett’s first term on the bench, joining her chambers shortly after her confirmation to the Seventh Circuit in 2017.” (Amanda Rauh-Bieri, U.S. Senate Judiciary Hearing, 10/15/2020)

  • AMANDA RAUH-BIERI: “From the very beginning, I saw Judge Barrett exhibit the rare and unique set of qualities that make an exemplary judge. She is a brilliant thinker; she analyzes and writes about legal issues with striking clarity and precision. She is patient, thoughtful, and compassionate. She brings each of these qualities to bear on every case she decides. Judge Barrett is dedicated and disciplined; and, as a judge, she is committed above all else to the rule of law. As she has said, and as I have seen, Judge Barrett understands that policy decisions must be left to the political branches—the role of a judge is to enforce the law, as written. I have seen Judge Barrett put that unwavering commitment to the law into action in every case before her. She approaches each case with an open mind. She commits to the idea that either side might, in the end, have the better legal argument.” (Amanda Rauh-Bieri, U.S. Senate Judiciary Hearing, 10/15/2020)

AMANDA RAUH-BIERI: “Judge Barrett has the rare gift of lifting everyone around her. She knows how to bring out the best in her clerks, spurring each of us to excellence. Judge Barrett has her own large family, but that didn’t stop her from treating her clerks like family too. Shortly after I arrived in chambers, my three co-clerks and I piled in the back of Judge Barrett’s minivan, and she drove us from South Bend to Chicago for her first set of oral arguments. She cared deeply about each of us, investing time and encouraging us to cultivate rich, fulfilling, well-rounded lives, both in and beyond the law. Clerking for Judge Barrett and being mentored by her is an honor. Judge Barrett has elevated my thinking, writing, and character, not by prescription, but by simply being herself. As a Supreme Court Justice, she would be a role model for generations to come, as she is for me. I am proud and honored to support Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to serve as an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court.” (Amanda Rauh-Bieri, U.S. Senate Judiciary Hearing, 10/15/2020)

  • AMANDA RAUH-BIERI: “Judge Barrett’s impact on my life runs far deeper than legal training. As I said, I was in Judge Barrett's first class of clerks, and I joined her chambers in January of 2018: two weeks after my graduation from law school. I loved my time in law school, but I also spent much of it unsure of myself. I often tried to downplay my presence, afraid I was wrong or inadequate. I wasn’t certain I had what it took to succeed. Judge Barrett changed that for me. Her example and mentorship inspired in me confidence I didn’t know I had. I can’t point to a single event or a point in time when that change occurred. Change like that—formative change—happens gradually, across hundreds of conversations and hours shared. Judge Barrett leads, in law and in life, with conviction, generosity, and courage—and she inspires me to do the same. For example, I can tell you with certainty that I would not have the confidence to be here, speaking to this committee, without Judge Barrett’s influence in my life.(Amanda Rauh-Bieri, U.S. Senate Judiciary Hearing, 10/15/2020)


Retired Judge Thomas Griffith: ‘Judge Barrett Is Supremely Well-Qualified’

RETIRED D.C. CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE THOMAS GRIFFITH: “I am honored by your invitation to speak in support of the confirmation of my friend Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States. As you and the nation have seen during these hearings, Judge Barrett is supremely well-qualified and well-suited to join the other esteemed members of the Court.” (Judge Thomas Griffith, U.S. Senate Judiciary Hearing, 10/15/2020)

JUDGE GRIFFITH: “Having served for fifteen years on the D. C. Circuit alongside judicial appointees of every President from Carter to Trump, I have seen firsthand that judges can and do put aside party and politics in a good-faith effort to correctly interpret the law. That is precisely the type of jurist Judge Barrett has been and the type of Justice she will be. In fact, it takes no guesswork to determine whether a Justice Barrett will approach her work in this way. She already said she will. In her confirmation hearings prior to her appointment to the Seventh Circuit, she said that a judge should ‘never’ impose her ‘personal convictions, whether they derive from faith or anywhere else, on the law.’ … And her decisions on the bench bear out that promise.” (Judge Thomas Griffith, U.S. Senate Judiciary Hearing, 10/15/2020)

JUDGE GRIFFITH: “Finally, I note that Judge Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court has made her faith a matter of public debate. While some of that discussion is tinged with bigotry, other commentary reflects a sincere desire to know whether Judge Barrett’s faith will dictate her decisions as a Justice. As a person of faith who served on the   D. C. Circuit for 15 years, let me assure you that it will not. … Every federal judge must take an oath to support ‘the Constitution of the United States . . . So help me God.’ … In taking the oath, the judge makes a solemn promise, with God as a witness, that, when acting as a judge, she will be a different person than when she is not acting as a judge; that she will resist the temptation to displace the law created by We, the People with her own wishes about who should prevail in court and why. To a person of faith, an oath is more than a solemn promise of impartiality to one's fellow-citizens -- it is also a solemn promise to God. … In other words, for a person of faith, the judicial oath is a promise to the nation and to God that she will not do the one thing secular critics most fear: reach for outcomes based on her religious worldview.  That’s how I saw it when I was on the D. C. Circuit, and every judge I know who is a person of faith sees it the same. When wearing the robe, there is no conflict between following God and following Caesar. It’s Caesar all the way down.” (Judge Thomas Griffith, U.S. Senate Judiciary Hearing, 10/15/2020)


Law Professor Saikrishna Prakash: ‘Amy Coney Barrett Is Uber Qualified… She Is Tailor-Made For This Job,’ She Is ‘A Brilliant Scholar, A Terrific Educator, An Institutionalist, A Role Model’

SAIKRISHNA PRAKASH, University of Virginia Law Professor: “I speak without reservation in favor of Judge Barrett’s elevation to the Court…. The American Bar Association has declared that Judge Barrett is ‘well-qualified’ for the Supreme Court. Forgive me, but this is something an understatement. It is a bit like saying that George Washington was ‘well-qualified’ to be our first president. Amy Coney Barrett is uber qualified. You have seen that in ample measure over the past three days. In fact, I would say that Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a five-tool nominee. She’s a brilliant scholar, a terrific educator, an institutionalist, a role model, and to top it all off, an originalist. She is tailor-made for this job.” (Saikrishna Prakash, U.S. Senate Judiciary Hearing, 10/15/2020)



Related Issues: Supreme Court, Judicial Nominations