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Blunt: Supreme Court will Benefit From Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s “Humility and Brilliance”

“America needs judges that bring humility and brilliance both to the court. The Supreme Court will benefit from her being there.”

October 22, 2020

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) spoke on the Senate floor to outline why he will vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Following Are Blunt’s Remarks:

“Mr. President, let me just follow right on with that important topic of the vote we'll have in a few days to send another justice to the United States Supreme Court. I had the opportunity this morning to meet with Judge Barrett. The conversation reminded me of exactly why she's the right choice to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court now. I was asked the first weekend of this discussion before the president made a decision, if I could vote for her and I quickly said yes, having watched her circuit judge bipartisan confirmation, having seen how that discussion went.

“I've had her on the short list that I kept myself for a long time as someone that would be an important addition to the court. First in her class at Notre Dame, clerked on the district court in Washington, D.C., clerked for Justice Scalia at the Supreme Court, a law professor at Notre Dame for 15 years, at least three times in that 15 years chosen by students as the top faculty member, and bipartisanly confirmed on the Seventh Circuit and then has a history of the last three years of the kind of judge she would be.

“The dean at the law school at Notre Dame had this to say about Judge Amy Coney Barrett. He said 'Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an absolutely brilliant legal scholar and jurist.' He said, 'she lives a life of humility and grace, devoted to her family and community.' Somebody else at the Notre Dame law school said, 'when Professor Barrett was in the room, the smartest person in the room was also the most humble person in the room.' 

“I think we saw some of that when she was before the Judiciary Committee, as she answered those questions, understanding what her job was, understanding the job of a judge is not to decide what the law should say, but what the law does say. Not to decide what the Constitution should say, but what it does say and even more importantly, in her view, of what a judge should look at, what people thought it said when they wrote it, that textualist, that originalist concept. She, I think, rightly perceived that if we want to change the Constitution, there's a way to do that. If we want to update it to what would be what it might mean now, we have the chance to do that.

“Certainly, if we want to change the law, we had the chance to do that. And if you really listened to the questions, particularly from our friends on the other side, the Democrats on that committee, they were all very much premised on, ‘well what do you believe, what do you think about this, what do you think about that.’ That's not the point. And she, I thought, very consistently for 24 hours, made the point that the point is it's not about what I believe, it's about what the law says. 

“And by the way, members of the committee, didn't say this, but it was obvious, it's your job to decide what the law says. It's the job of the court to decide how the law is applied, and if it meets the test of the Constitution. A widely respected scholar, a person of faith. By the way, I think in the previous hearing, we've all heard that comment, the dogma lives loudly in you. There may be a good way to use the word dogma but I don't think I've ever heard it used in a positive way. But if you just substituted dogma for faith, what a great thing that would be to say about somebody. The faith lives, your faith, the faith lives loudly in you. No matter what your faith is, that's a great thing to hear about yourself or to say, to be able to say about somebody else. Lots of people say that about Amy Coney Barrett.

“She's written 79 opinions at the circuit court level, the court level right below the Supreme Court. Everything she's said as a circuit judge, as a witness before the committee, as a nominee before the committee, has been exactly what I think a judge should do. The day she was nominated by the president she said, 'a judge must apply the law as written, judges are not policymakers and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.' [Justice] Scalia famously said that a really good judge will often issue an opinion that they wish was a different opinion, an opinion that doesn't meet their view of what they'd like to see happen but meets their view of what the law requires to happen. 

“The American Bar Association, sometimes not all that friendly to Republican nominees to the court, concluded that she was well-qualified. They said that they had asked for input of more than 900 people familiar with Judge Barrett and, in the end, not one person uttered a negative word about her. Certainly, nobody has been elected to this body that didn't have lots of negative words said about them. But just to find 900 people and none of them have a negative thing to say, I think is a great indication of who she is.

“One lawyer told the ABA that she's, 'an intellectual giant, with people skills, and engaging warmth.’ Not every intellectual giant is praised for their warmth or their people skills. It's clear that she's well-qualified, it's clear that she's a brilliant lawyer, it's clear that she cares about her faith, about her family, about her community.

“As Senator Ernst mentioned, the first nominee since Sandra Day O'Connor that didn't graduate from Yale or Harvard, and there's nothing wrong with Yale or Harvard, but there's nothing wrong with having a different background as you come to the court, particularly if all of your associations as a lawyer have been she is mind-blowingly intelligent. That was somebody from one of her colleagues at Notre Dame, and she's also one of the most humble people you're going to meet. Brilliant, humble, pretty good combination.

“America needs judges that bring humility and brilliance both to the court. The Supreme Court will benefit from her being there. I certainly look forward to voting for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, as she moves from that job to Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, and believe we will be able to do that within the next few days. Thank you, Mr. President.”

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