Event Recap: The Judicial Philosophy of Judge Amy Coney Barrett
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
Diligent – Warm – Humble – Precise – Intelligent – Just
These were just a few of the adjectives used to describe Judge Amy Coney Barrett by those who know her well.
On Friday, October 2, the Chapter co-sponsored The Judicial Philosophy of Amy Coney Barrett to learn about the Supreme Court nominee’s beliefs and approach as a judge, as well as her personal qualities. Attorneys John Adams, Amanda Rauh-Bieri, both former law clerks of Judge Barrett, and Robert Driscoll, a former student, served as panelists, while Attorney Ryan Walsh, an experienced litigator who argued before Judge Barrett, moderated.
The panelists began by sharing their experiences with Amy Coney Barrett the boss, teacher, and mentor. They described her as a welcoming and warm woman, who shares her time and great mind generously with those around her. As a teacher, she challenged students, whether they were conservative or liberal, to develop their own views. Her office was always open, and she was well known to go above and beyond to help her students learn.
As a judge, her clerks described her as master preparer and meticulous writer. “Every punctuation mark is carefully crafted” in her plain spoken but precise opinions. She is said to write her opinions with the losing party's reception of them in mind, always providing the party the respect and dignity they deserve. Her clerks also described her as a humble judge, who is more interested in getting to the right legal answer than making news for style. She is not driven by an agenda, they said.
During her nomination, Judge Barrett spoke of her clerkship with Justice Antonin Scalia saying, “[h]is judicial philosophy is mine, too: A judge must apply the law as written.” Her clerks reiterated this point, describing her as a stare decisis expert. They also noted that not only does she admire Justice Scalia’s judicial philosophy, but also his friendship with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Judge Barrett is said to approach her colleagues of all ideologies in the same way.
The United States Senate is set to begin hearings on Judge Barrett’s confirmation on Monday.