At several points in the hearing, senators have asked Judge Barrett whether her personal stances — on family, gun rights or religion, for instance — would weigh on how she judges cases on the Supreme Court.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), in a series of questions ahead of a section on voting rights, asked Judge Barrett about the impact of the police killing of George Floyd on her family. Judge Barrett has seven children, including an adopted son and daughter from Haiti.
“Senator, as you might imagine, given that I have two Black children, that was very, very personal for my family.” She said her husband was on a camping trip with her boys, and she was at home with the girls. “I was there and my 17-year-old daughter Vivian who is adopted from Haiti, all of this was erupting. It was very difficult for her. We wept together in my room.”
She added: “For Vivian, to understand there would be a risk to her brother or the son 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.”
While she said such incidents show that racism persists in America, she declined to say whether this should be called systemic racism and what changes should be made to address it, saying that was best left to lawmakers.
“Giving broader statements or making broader diagnoses about the problem of racism is kind of beyond what I’m capable of doing as a judge,” she said.