Barrett ‘wept’ with her daughter after George Floyd death: ‘Very, very personal for my family’


Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, told lawmakers on Tuesday that she “wept” with her family following the death of George Floyd earlier this year.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) asked Barrett what “impact” viral footage of a former Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck had on her as Democrats grilled the high court pick during a marathon hearing. Floyd’s death sparked fresh scrutiny of police tactics and renewed nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.

“As you might imagine, given that I have two Black children, that was very, very personal for my family,” Barrett responded.

Floyd died after former police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he was detained in May. Protests that broke out after his death have called for widespread reforms on policing and inequality in the U.S.

Barrett told senators that her husband was camping with her sons when protests broke out across the country and said she spoke with her daughters about the events following Floyd’s death.

“I was there, and my 17-year-old daughter Vivian, who’s adopted from Haiti, all of this was erupting. It was very difficult for her. We wept together in my room. It was also difficult for my daughter Juliet, who’s 10. I had to try to explain some of this to them,” Barrett said.

“My children to this point in their lives have had the benefit of growing up in a cocoon where they have not yet experienced hatred or violence. And for Vivian, you know, to understand that there would be a risk to her brother or the sons she might have one day of that kind of brutality has been an ongoing conversation. It’s a difficult one for us like it is for Americans all over the country,” Barrett added.

Barrett and her husband, Jesse Barrett, have seven children, two of whom were adopted from Haiti.

During the Tuesday hearing, Durbin asked where the Supreme Court nominee believes the country is “when it comes to the issue of race.”

“I think it is an entirely uncontroversial and obvious statement, given as we just talked about the George Floyd video, that racism persists in our country,” Barrett said.

However, she added that making “broader diagnoses about the problem of racism is kind of beyond what I am capable of doing as a judge.”

“As to putting my finger on the nature of the problem, you know, whether, as you say, it’s just outright or systemic racism or how to tackle the issue of making it better, those things, you know, are policy questions. They’re hotly contested policy questions that have been in the news and discussed all summer,” she told lawmakers.

Durbin replied that “I just don’t believe you can be as passionate about originalism and the history behind language that we’ve had for decades if not centuries without having some thought about where we stand today.”

Lawmakers asked Barrett about a slate of issues during the Tuesday session that is expected to last at least 11 hours, including health care, abortion rights and criminal justice.

Tags Amy Coney Barrett Black Lives Matter Dick Durbin Donald Trump George Floyd Originalism police brutality Supreme Court systemic racism
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