Feminists Should Be Celebrating Amy Coney Barrett

Published September 26, 2020

National Review Online

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is everything feminists say they admire. She’s a brilliant and accomplished lawyer and judge. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School at the top of her class. She clerked not only for the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit but also for the Supreme Court, for Justice Antonin Scalia. And now she’s a nominee to the Supreme Court herself.

Meanwhile, Judge Barrett has been married to her husband Jesse for 18 years and is the mother of seven children. Two of her children were adopted from Haiti, and a third has special needs. At the nomination ceremony this evening, she focused part of her remarks on family life and the centrality of her role as a mother.

This level of accomplishment and dedication to family, one would imagine, is what feminists are referring to when they say women should be able to “have it all.” Of course, no one can have it all, and life is full of tradeoffs. But you would be hard-pressed to find a woman who has navigated the difficult trenches of career success and motherhood as ably as Barrett.

As President Trump highlighted in his remarks announcing the nomination, if confirmed, Barrett will be the first woman on the Supreme Court who is the mother of school-aged children. She’ll also be, as Dan McLaughlin pointed out, “the only mother on the current Court, as Justice Kagan is single, Justice Sotomayor is divorced, and both are childless.”

It’s difficult to think that most women — including those who might disagree with her rulings — wouldn’t admire her for that. One could imagine that the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose seat Barrett has been nominated to fill, might admire the young judge, despite the stark differences in their judicial philosophy.

But, of course, modern feminism being what it is, progressive feminists have already begun criticizing Barrett’s appearance, suggesting that her religious faith is disqualifying because Catholicism is sexist, insisting that she will be “bad for women” because she’ll do away with Roe v. Wade, and wondering “how a potential Supreme Court justice can also be a loving, present mom to seven kids.”

Judging from the way she came across both in today’s ceremony and during her Senate confirmation hearing for her nomination to the Seventh Circuit, Barrett will be difficult to vilify. Of course, that won’t stop the Left and self-professed feminists from trying, but if they continue with these sorts of attacks, the only people they’ll harm are themselves.

Alexandra DeSanctis is a staff writer for National Review and a visiting fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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