Amy Coney Barrett is 48, a mother of seven and a brilliant legal mind – and now she’s the most divisive Supreme Court judge in at least a generation and maybe even longer.
She brings before the Supreme Court a short legal career, a longer academic, and the hope of a conservative legal movement that they have a secure 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court for now, and a fervent vote on that for decades to come. .
Coney Barrett’s life story makes her the sixth Catholic on court, retains the bank’s six-three man-woman makeup, and for the first time ever, puts someone on court who openly identifies with the charismatic wing of the modern Christianity.
She is also the only one not educated at Harvard or Yale, and the only Midwestern and Southern Justice born and raised in Louisiana and spent the rest of her life in Indiana.
Barrett grew up in Metairie, Louisiana, as a member of the charismatic, conservative, Catholic group People of Praise and one of seven children.
Her father, Mike Coney, a former oil company attorney, has been a prominent member for decades. Her attorney husband, Jesse, 46, whom she met while they were both students at Notre Dame University, also grew up in the group.
She had completed her undergraduate degree from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, and was considering further study of English literature, but instead decided to study law and attend Notre Dame, whose law school has earned a reputation as predominantly conservative.
Family photo of Amy Coney Barrett, her husband Jesse Barrett, and their seven children Emma; Vivian; Tess; John Peter; Liam; Juliet; and Benjamin. Her large family was part of her call for conservatives. Vivian and John Peter are adopted from Haiti and their youngest son Benjamin has Down syndrome
Judge Amy Coney Barrett introduced her family at her hearing, including her children (from left, first row) Liam, Vivian, Tess, Juliet, Emma, JP and husband Jesse and then siblings (left, second row) Vivian, Eileen, Michael, Megan and Amanda. Sister Carrie was across the aisle
Amy Coney Barrett can be seen in a family photo with siblings and parents. In 2018, Barrett’s father Mike Coney wrote an online biography of himself on his church’s website, saying he joined People of Praise because he and his wife Linda “ felt a calling to live in a close-knit Christian community. one that would help our children become good Christians and strengthen our marriage and family ‘
Family photo of Amy Coney Barrett, husband Jesse Barrett and their seven children. She and her husband Jesse
Described by a professor as the best student he’d ever had, she became a clerk to Antonin Scalia, the justice advocate of originality as a legal philosophy.
She had a short career in private practice, but became a law professor at Notre Dame, married and had seven children.
The visible manifestation of her conservative Catholic beliefs was part of her appeal to political conservatives.
But it has also drawn attention to the small group, which has just over 2,000 members and does not represent mainstream Catholicism.
People of Praise is headquartered in the hometown of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, and many of its distinguished members are associated with the university. According to its website, the group has offices in 14 states, one in Canada and two in the Caribbean. It operates three Grades 7-to-12 Trinity Schools and an elementary school.
Both – who lives in South Bend – and People of Praise seem to have gone to extraordinary lengths to hide her bond. Articles mentioning her were removed from the group’s website shortly before she would be eligible for a seat on the Federal Appeals Court in 2017.
Barrett’s ties to People of Praise did not become public until the New York Times broke the story three weeks after her hearing as an appellate judge, but before the committee had voted. The commission eventually split along party lines to confirm it. Three Democrats voted with the Republican majority in the full Senate vote.
People of Praise is strongly anti-abortion. It also rejects homosexuality. “Both are seen as accepted by human law, but rejected by divine law,” explained the former member.
Gay relationships are taboo, and all LGBTQ tendencies are seen as temptations to be overcome through prayer. Failing that, the member must live a life of chastity. ‘
Even dating is a no-no until a member has “prayed through their state of life” and decided that they are ready to “marry for the Lord.” If they are not committed to the marriage, they are not allowed to date.
Barrett received her law degree from Notre Dame, graduating first in her class in 1997. In the photo, she is speaking at Notre Dame’s Law School from 2018
Barrett and her husband Jesse are members of People of Praise, a small group that teaches that women must obey their husbands in everything
The group is probably best known for its teaching that women must obey their husbands in everything, and its system whereby all men and single women must report to their mentor – called a “chief.” Men act as the ‘head’ to their wives.
The ‘heads’ have such an influence that they indicate who a member should date or even marry, how to raise children, whether to take a new job, and where to live.
Until recently, the female leader was known as a ‘handmaiden’. But that title was dropped following the success of the dystopian TV show The Handmaid’s Tale and the negative connotations it gave the title.
Author Margaret Atwood, who wrote the original novel, said it was based on a group that has similar views to People of Praise.
Conservative Catholic beliefs have bled into her public life: she is a former member of Notre Dame’s ‘Faculty for Life’ and in 2015 signed a letter to the Catholic Church affirming the ‘teachings of the Church as truth’.
These teachings included the “value of human life from conception to natural death” and the values of marriage and the family “based on the unbreakable devotion of a man and a woman.”
She previously wrote that Supreme Court precedents are not sacred. Liberals have interpreted these remarks as a threat to Roe v. Wade’s 1973 decision to legalize abortion nationwide.
Barrett wrote that she agrees “ with those who say the duty of a justice is to the constitution and thus it is more legitimate for her to enforce her best understanding of the constitution rather than set a precedent that she believes is it clearly contradicts it ‘.
What she said is the distillation of originality and raises the possibility that she could tear up a precedent if she sees it as inconsistent with the original observation.
That puts her on a par with Scalia and the Republican senators who voted for her and expect her to rule accordingly for decades to come; it violently puts her at odds with those who disagree, and puts her on the right track to be a justice whose presence on the bench will divide opinions as long as she stays on it.