Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump
Sen. Dick Durbin
“As you might imagine, given that I have two Black children, that was very, very personal for my family,” Barrett responded.
Floyd died after former police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he was detained in May. Protests that broke out after his death have called for widespread reforms on policing and inequality in the U.S.
Barrett told senators that her husband was camping with her sons when protests broke out across the country, saying she spoke with her daughters about the events in the wake of Floyd’s death.
“I was there, and my 17-year-old daughter Vivian, who’s adopted from Haiti, all of this was erupting. It was very difficult for her. We wept together in my room. It was also difficult for my daughter Juliet, who’s 10. I had to try to explain some of this to them,” Barrett said.
“My children to this point in their lives have had the benefit of growing up in a cocoon where they have not yet experienced hatred or violence. And for Vivian, you know, to understand that there would be a risk to her brother or the sons and she might have one day of that kind of brutality has been an ongoing conversation. It’s a difficult one for us, like it is for Americans all over the country,” Barrett added.
.@SenatorDurbin: “Have you seen the George Floyd video? What impact did it have on you?”
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 13, 2020
Barrett and her husband, Jesse Barrett, have seven children, two of whom were adopted from Haiti.
During the Tuesday hearing, Durbin asked where Barrett she believes the country is “when it comes to the issue of race” today.
“I think it is an entirely uncontroversial, an obvious statement given, as we just talked about, the George Floyd video that racism persists in our country,” Barrett said.
However, Barrett added that making “broader diagnoses about the problem of racism is kind of beyond what I am capable of doing as a judge.”
“As to putting my finger on the nature of the problem, you know, whether, as you say, it’s just outright or systemic racism or how to tackle the–the issue of making it better, those things, you know, are policy questions. They’re hotly contested policy contested questions that have been in the news and discussed all summer,” Barrett told lawmakers.
Durbin replied that “I just don’t believe you can be as passionate about originalism and the history behind language that we’ve had for decades if not centuries without having some thought about where we stand today.”
Lawmakers asked Barrett about a slate of issues during the Tuesday session that expected to last at least 11 hours, including health care, abortion rights, criminal justice and more.