Amy Coney Barrett: ‘A judge must apply the law as it is written, not as she wishes it were’
As the first day of her confirmation hearings came to a close, Judge Amy Coney Barrett had the opportunity to introduce herself to the American people in her opening remarks. She spoke about her family, including seven children, and her experience before explaining how she would approach her role as a Supreme Court justice if appointed to the bench.
Barrett expressed admiration for the judicial philosophy of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who believed that “a judge must apply the law as it is written, not as she wishes it were.” Barrett recalled that Scalia believed “that is what it means to say that we have a government of laws and not of men.”
“Courts have a vital responsibility to the rule of law, which is critical to a free society,” Barrett stated. “Courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life. The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the people.”
“The public should not expect courts to do so and courts should not try,” she stressed. “That is the approach that I have strived to follow as a judge on the Seventh Circuit. In every case, I have carefully considered the arguments presented by the parties, discussed the issues with my colleagues on the Court and done my utmost to reach the result required by the law, whatever my own preferences might be.”
The Supreme Court nominee went on to explain how she always puts herself in the shoes of the losing party whenever she writes an opinion resolving a case: “I ask myself how I would view the decision if one of my children was the party I was ruling against. Even though I would not like the result, would I understand the decision was fairly reasoned and grounded in law? That is the standard that I set for myself on every case and it is the standard that I will follow so long as I am a judge on any court.”
In the end, the devout Catholic noted that she believes in "the power of prayer" and "it has been uplifting to hear that so many people are praying for me."