Supreme Court Nominations

After seeing George Floyd video, Barrett says she wept with her daughter

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Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett with her family at her confirmation hearing Oct. 13. Image from C-SPAN.

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett said Tuesday it’s obvious that racism still exists in the United States, and it is personal for her multiracial family.

Under questioning by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Barrett said she had seen the video of George Floyd, a Black man who died while a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck. Barrett said she wept with her 17-year-old daughter Vivian, who was adopted from Haiti. It was also difficult for her 10-year-old daughter, Juliet.

Barrett’s sons were on a camping trip with her husband when the video was released.

Barrett said she thought that she had to explain things to her children.

“My children, to this point in their lives, have had the benefit of growing up in a cocoon, where they had not yet experienced hatred or violence,” Barrett said.

Vivian had to grapple with the idea that there could be a risk to her brother or to a future son.

“That kind of brutality has been an ongoing conversation,” Barrett said.

She added that “it is an entirely uncontroversial and obvious statement” that racism persists in the country. But she did not answer whether the problem was due to outright or systemic racism.

Later in the hearing, Republican Sen. Joshua Hawley of Missouri asked Barrett to speak about the issue of race through the lens of a multiracial family.

Barrett said her life experiences have given her wisdom and compassion, but they don’t dictate how she decides cases. Sometimes, she said, cases have to be decided in which you don’t like the result.

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