INDIANA (WEHT) Senator Mike Braun joined Senator Todd Young Monday in introducing Judge Amy Coney Barrett on the first day of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing.
“Education. Faith. Family. Community. Equal justice under the law. These are all values that Midwesterners hold dear. Indeed, they are values that Americans hold dear. And they are all values embodied by Judge Barrett,” said Senator Young.
Senator Young met with Judge Barrett shortly after her Supreme Court nomination and spoke about her qualifications on the Senate floor. He also penned an op-ed for the Indy Star about the confirmation hearing.
In 2017, Senator Young previously introduced Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation hearing for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Senator Braun’s remarks introducing Amy Coney Barrett:
Thank you Chairman Graham and Ranking Member Feinstein. It’s my honor today to join Senator Young and Professor Emerita O’Hara to introduce a fellow Hoosier who makes our state proud.
I’m joining you from my hometown of Jasper, Indiana at City Hall, figuratively and literally on Main Street. It’s a town and state that represents a broad cross-section of our country.
In 2013, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that “the Federal Judiciary is hardly a cross-section of America.” Today, it’s still easy to see what he meant.
When confirmed, Amy Coney Barrett would become the only justice of the Supreme Court who spent the majority of her professional life in Middle America – not on the East Coast.
When confirmed, she will be the only sitting Justice who did not receive her law degree from Harvard or Yale, yet her Notre Dame Law credentials are also from a first-rate university.
When confirmed, she will be only the second current justice to join the Court from West of the nation’s capital.
When this vacancy arose, I was the first to voice my support for a nominee from the Midwest, because I believe we need more judges who understand those Middle American values that guide our lives: faith, family, community, and respect for the law.
Amy Coney Barrett is that quintessential Midwesterner: hard-working, generous, humble. She’s a top-flight law scholar who’s just as comfortable at the Saturday morning tailgate as she is in the Ivory Tower. A legal titan who drives a mini-van.
I immediately supported Judge Barrett’s nomination not only because she’s a highly qualified jurist, but because she’s proven both on and off the bench that she has the decency and the fundamental respect for our country and its Constitution to serve honorably.
And now I would like to say a word about faith.
Much will certainly be made in the coming days of Judge Barrett’s Catholic faith and how she practices it. It’s a faith that I and many Americans share.
Our Founders anticipated this question and, as they so often do, got it right: Liberals and conservatives alike are bound by the Constitution’s firm edict that ‘no religious Test should ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States’.
I believe hostility toward Judge Barrett’s religious beliefs today could set a dangerous precedent of hostility toward other religious beliefs tomorrow.
Judge Barrett has been clear in her public life where she falls on the question of faith and the law. As she concluded in a 1998 essay we’re sure to hear cherry-picked for misleading quotes this week, “judges cannot — nor should they try to — align our legal system with the Church’s moral teaching whenever the two diverge.”
Faith is very important to most Americans, and I agree that faith should be a key word in Judge Barrett’s confirmation, but I believe the most important question of faith for a justice is if she will faithfully interpret the Constitution. Judge Barrett’s record shows that she will.
Throughout her nearly one hundred written opinions on the appellate court, Judge Barrett has proven that she is a strong Constitutional originalist who will not cut the American people out of their own government by treating the Supreme Court as a third chamber of Congress.
On the bench, her qualifications are beyond question. Off the bench, she exemplifies the generosity and character Hoosiers are known for, and has lived a life rooted in those heartland values that guide us: faith, family, community, and respect for the law.
Hoosiers should be proud to have Amy Coney Barrett serving and representing our state here today, and I believe she will make all Americans proud as a Justice of the Supreme Court.
Senator Young’s remarks introducing Amy Coney Barrett:
Thank you, Chairman Graham, Ranking Member Feinstein, and members of the committee.
Today, I join you in the shadow of Monument Circle in Indianapolis, Indiana.
I am honored to appear before you to introduce Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a remarkable Hoosier poised to make her mark on our country. She truly is an American original.
In 2017, when there was an opening on the U.S Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, my office began looking for an extraordinary American who would uphold the rule of law.
In response, we received dozens of applications from many of the finest legal minds in the State of Indiana. My staff and I began researching in earnest to learn everything we could about each candidate to determine who among them would make the best judge, and I interviewed the best of the best.
One of those was a Constitutional Law Professor from the University of Notre Dame by the name of Amy Coney Barrett.
I first met with then-Professor Barrett in the Spring of 2017, and it was abundantly clear that she was a star.
A brilliant legal scholar, she was and is held in the highest regard by her peers in the legal world. Her integrity and character are unimpeachable. She is a model of collegiality and fairness, and simply, she possessed all of the necessary qualities to be a great Appellate Court Judge then, and to be a great Supreme Court Justice now.
My colleague, former Senator Joe Donnelly, and I approved of her nomination and a hearing was set.
Unfortunately, some resorted to attacks on Judge Barrett’s religious convictions. I can tell you that in Indiana and much of the country, faith is viewed as an asset in a public servant, not a liability. As Notre Dame President Father Jenkins reminded us then, being a person of faith does not interfere with one’s ability to apply the law.
Thankfully, Judge Barrett’s qualifications outshone personal attacks, and she was confirmed by a bipartisan majority to the U.S Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
As a member of that Court, Judge Barrett has proven that she is a rather brilliant jurist who interprets the Constitution as written and carefully weighs the facts of a given case. She has heard more than 600 cases on the 7th Circuit and authored nearly 100 opinions. And I should note she is the first woman from Indiana ever to serve on that esteemed court.
During that 7th Circuit interview back in 2017, it was obvious that Judge Barrett loved the law and the Constitution. Her love for her family – her husband Jesse and her seven children – was also clear.
If confirmed, Judge Barrett will be the fifth woman, and the first mother of school-aged children to serve as a Supreme Court Justice.
Being a parent does not qualify one to sit on the Supreme Court, but it does give us Hoosiers yet another reason to be proud of Amy Coney Barrett and the trail she has blazed leading her to this moment.
Education. Faith. Family. Community. Equal justice under the law. These are all values that Midwesterners hold dear. Indeed, they are values that Americans hold dear. And they are all values embodied by Judge Barrett.
Author Kurt Vonnegut, another American original from Indiana, once said, “I don’t know what it is about Hoosiers, but wherever you go there is always a Hoosier doing something very important.”
Where Amy Coney Barrett has gone, she has always been doing something very important – from raising a family, to educating the next generation of scholars, to administering justice on the Court of Appeals.
It is my hope that this body will confirm Judge Barrett in a bipartisan fashion so that we will soon find another Hoosier doing something very important on the Supreme Court of the United States.
(This story was originally published on October 12, 2020)
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