Amy Coney Barrett is a nightmare for Democrats. There doesn’t seem to be any real disagreement about Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s qualifications for the Supreme Court. There has been a bit of a push to frame her as too religious or too extreme but even there most Democrats seem hesitant to engage in the kind of demonization which they know would likely backfire on them.
Some elected Democrats have simply decided the only choice they have is to boycott meeting with her, essentially refusing to engage with her as a human being in a desperate attempt to delegitimize her confirmation. It’s not going to work and the reason why can be summed up in a name: Laura Wolk.
Laura Wolk is the first blind woman to serve as a Supreme Court clerk. Wolk attended Notre Dame law school and had Amy Coney Barrett as a professor. According to Wolk, Barrett wasn’t just a teacher, she was a mentor and a champion.
When Wolk first arrived at Notre Dame she discovered that the special software the school had purchased that would allow her to listen to lectures and take notes wasn’t ready. And then at the beginning of the semester her laptop died. Not sure what to do next, she turned to professor Barrett who she had only known for 2 weeks at the time:
Although I had known her for only two weeks, I felt confident that this poised, articulate woman would not dismiss my concerns and would counsel me on how to get the university to procure the needed assistive technology as quickly as possible.
But she did not merely help me to readjust the burden on my own shoulders; she took it from me and carried it herself. I will never forget the moment when she looked at me from across her desk and said, coolly and matter-of-factly, “Laura, this is not your problem anymore. It’s mine.”
To many, this might seem like an insignificant gesture. After all, how hard could it be for a law professor to send a few follow-up emails and make a few phone calls? But as a person with a disability, as someone who is accustomed to the oftentimes solo and always thankless task of self-advocacy, I was caught off guard. Her unsolicited words were balm to my soul. The rarity of the offer was enough to impress me, but the sincerity and conviction with which she spoke indicated that she would not let me down. She proved, as I knew she would, to be a woman of her word.
In her final semester, Wolk had a a health scare which meant she would need surgery and would potentially be unable to maintain her grades. Once again she turned to Professor Barrett:
It also raised deeper—and far more important—questions about one’s place in the world, the meaning of suffering, and how to face the unknown. Professor Barrett wanted to hear it all. She gave me the space to cry my tears and run through all the “what ifs,” allowing me to stay until I once again felt ready to face the challenges ahead.
Thanks in part to Barrett’s support, Wolk graduated 2nd in her class and eventually went on to clerk for two different appeals court judges and eventually for Justice Clarence Thomas. In a recent CBS News interview, Wolk said, “In professor Barrett I found a complete champion.”
So, good luck demonizing her, Democrats. Not only is she’s often described by people around her as the smartest person in the room, she’s also one of the kindest, taking a personal interest in her students and their success.
Of course it’s still possible that Democrats will invent something to attack her with, as they did with Judge Kavanaugh. I don’t think it’s going to work. As with Kavanaugh, there’s just too much evidence out there that in addition to being fully qualified Judge Barrett is a supremely decent person, one who would be a credit to the Court.
Here’s the CBS News interview with Wolk:
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