June 10, 2023

Amy Coney Barrett: A Role Model for Mothers and Young Women

Judge Amy Coney Barrett meets with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R., W. Va.) on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 30, 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/Reuters)

As some of us have already noted elsewhere on NRO, if confirmed, Judge Amy Coney Barrett would be the only mother sitting on the Supreme Court, and she’d be the first mother of school-aged children ever to do so. To most people inclined to view her nomination without the cynicism induced by despising either Trump or constitutional originalism (or both), that’s a pretty remarkable fact.

For American mothers, as well as for young women, Barrett is the sort of role model one doesn’t often come across in politics. As I pointed out in a piece here at NRO last week, her life and her success puts the lie to modern feminism’s false, harmful notion of freedom. And in my latest piece over at the Catholic Herald, I took a closer look at the topic, focusing especially on why Barrett’s nomination is so significant to me personally, and to so many women across the country, especially religious women and stay-at-home mothers:

Never have I felt myself so personally invested in a particular political fight than I am the impending battle over the nomination of Seventh Circuit appeals court judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

I suspect that women across the country, and women of faith in particular, feel similarly. Judging from the reactions of many of my female friends and the outpouring of support that I’ve witnessed on social media, Trump’s decision to nominate Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has struck a chord.

For Catholic mothers, Barrett’s nomination is a point of pride. Barrett has risen to the peak of her profession and has managed to do so while still prioritizing having a family. . . .

Of the time she and Jesse decided to adopt their son, John Peter — despite having recently had a biological child and finding out another was on the way — Barrett said: “I thought, when you think about the value of people and the value of life and what’s really most important, what you can pour yourself into, that raising children and bringing John Peter home were the things of the greatest value that I can do right then, rather than even teaching, being a law professor, which I was at the time. That was what was really most important.”

And of their son Benjamin, Barrett added, “Sometimes we see things that are very difficult or that are burdens, and Benjamin’s diagnosis definitely derailed us off what we thought life was going to look like, what we thought his life was going to look like. But in a way that we can’t really understand or appreciate but that we see unfold every day, it will be the most important thing that we do, probably.”

This is how countless women across the country think about the struggles and joys of raising a family and why, unlike Barrett, so many of them have chosen to stay home full time and devote themselves to that work. One can easily imagine how gratifying it is for those mothers to see a woman who values family as they do and who, in a sense, is representing them as she sits before the Senate seeking confirmation to the Supreme Court.

For Catholic stay-at-home mothers, and for young women who hope to balance work outside the home with being a wife and mother, Barrett’s excellent example is a bright spot in an otherwise fairly dismal political climate.

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