A closer look at Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett

National News
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NEW YORK — Judge Amy Coney Barrett was nominated by President Donald Trump to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

What do people need to know about Barrett? PIX11 News took a look at her life and legal career.

Those who know the 48-year-old Barrett say her family is her top priority. She made sure they were front and center at her 2017 hearing for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Barrett and her husband Jesse have seven children, including Vivian and John, who were adopted from Haiti. Their youngest son, Benjamin, has Down syndrome.

While Barrett was nominated to fill the seat of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her judicial philosophy is more in line with her late mentor and conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

Barrett clerked for the staunchly conservative justice right out of law school and has marveled at his intensity.

“One of my friends put it this way, he said ‘Judge Barrett is the kind of person and the kind of judge that you would want to be the judge in a case if you didn’t know which side you were going to be on,” said Carter Snead, a professor at the University of Notre Dame and expert in public bioethics.

Snead is part of Barrett’s close-knit group of friends in Southbend, Indiana.

“She and her family host extraordinary parties for mardi gras. She’s from New Orleans, so she cooks creole cuisine and makes jambalaya and red beans and rice and crawfish etouffee,” Snead said.

One issue that has come up before for Barrett is how she balances her Catholic faith and the law.

“If you’re asking whether I take my faith seriously and I’m a faithful Catholic, I am. Although I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge,” Barrett said during her 2017 hearing for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) drew criticism from Republicans for her sharp questions about Barrett’s religion during the hearing.

“You have a long history of believing that your religious beliefs should preveal,” Feinstein had said. “The dogma lives loudly within you.”

Barrett had responded that it’s “never appropriate” for a judge to impose their personal convictions on the law.

It is up to the Senate Judiciary Committee to vet Barrett and hold confirmation hearings. The FBI also conducts a background check. Once the committee approves the nomination, it goes to the Senate floor for a final vote.

This story comprises reporting from The Associated Press.

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