“Only 100 years ago, women in this country were given the right to vote. And today, we began considering adding another woman to the highest Court in the land,” Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstHarris raises alarm on abortion rights while grilling Barrett OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump creates federal council on global tree planting initiative | Green group pushes for answers on delayed climate report | Carbon dioxide emissions may not surpass 2019 levels until 2027: analysis Dem groups fund M ad buy attacking Ernst on Social Security MORE (R-Iowa) said on the opening day of U.S. Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. “The great freedom of being an American woman is that we can decide how to build our lives. Whom to marry, what kind of person we are and where we want to go. I served in the Army, something not exactly popular at various points in America’s history. We don’t have to fit the narrow definition of womanhood. We create our own path.”
If confirmed, Barrett will become the fifth woman to be nominated and confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. Making history, she will be the first woman with young children to do so, breaking another glass ceiling. In a different vein, she’s doing it with a conservative ideology shunned by so-called feminist groups and Democrats who claim to be the party for women.
Before giving her own opening statement and answers to senators’ questions this week, Barrett was defined by the media and Democrats as a right-wing, religious cult member who will overturn Roe v. Wade and strip millions of Americans of their health insurance. Her accomplishments as a woman, who has found the coveted healthy balance of career, marriage and children, have been downplayed.
Through the strength of her convictions and professionalism, she has proved these assumptions wrong.
“I’ve made distinct choices. I decided to pursue a career and have a large family. I have a multiracial family. Our faith is important to us. All of those things are important to us but they are my choices and in my personal interactions with people, I mean, I have a life brimming with people who have made different choices and I have never tried in my personal life to impose my choices on the them and the same is true professionally. I apply the law,” Barrett said in response to a question from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamFive takeaways from Barrett’s Supreme Court grilling Barrett says she did not strike down ObamaCare in moot court case Ted Cruz asks Jim Carrey for copy of his ‘hellbound’ Cruz artwork MORE (R-S.C.). “I’m committed to the rule of law and the role of the Supreme Court in dispensing equal justice for all. I’m not the only person who could do this job, but I was asked, and it would be difficult for anyone. So why should I say someone else should do the difficulty? If the difficulty is the only reason to say no, I should serve my country. And my family is all in on that because they share my belief in the rule of law.”
Given his mentorship to her during and after her Supreme Court clerkship, the opinions and career of the late Justice Antonin Scalia have been naturally projected on Barrett. And while she is proud of what she learned from him, including how to balance a career with a family, she has respectfully proven she thinks for herself and isn’t bound to the opinions or actions of others.
“I would say that Justice Scalia was obviously a mentor. And as I said when I accepted the president’s nomination, that his philosophy is mine, too,” Barrett said. “I want to be careful to say that if I’m confirmed you would not be getting Justice Scalia, you would be getting Justice Barrett … and that’s so, because originalists don’t always agree, and neither do textualists.”
Barrett has successfully defined herself as a calm, collected jurist who is loyal to the law. She is completely comfortable with her position as an originalist and contextualist. While she refuses to allow emotion to impact her interpretation of law, she pauses in every opinion to better understand the losing side.
For far too long, Democrats have defended success for women in politics on whether they support abortion. Feminists have pushed conservative women aside as traitors to their gender for daring to support protections for the smallest and most vulnerable women among us. Graham and other Republicans recognize otherwise and support the intellectual diversity of women, not just those they agree with politically.
“What I want the American people to know, I think it’s OK to be religiously conservative. I think it’s OK to be personally pro-choice. I think it’s OK to live your life in a traditional Catholic fashion. And you’ll still be qualified in the Supreme Court,” Graham said. “So all the young, conservative women out there, this hearing to me, is about a place for you. I hope when this is all over that there will be a place for you at the table. There’ll be a spot for you at the Supreme Court, like there was for [Justice Ruth Bader] Ginsburg.”
“I think you’re an amazing role model for little girls,” Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFive takeaways from Barrett’s Supreme Court grilling Ted Cruz asks Jim Carrey for copy of his ‘hellbound’ Cruz artwork Graham holds 6-point lead in Senate race: poll MORE (R-Texas) added.
Indeed. Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination is a triumph for all women and the rule of law, but in particular for conservative women who are too often vilified for their views and beliefs.
Pavlich is the editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.