WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) delivered remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Judge Amy Coney Barrett, describing her as the most qualified nominee he has encountered in his Senate career.
“During my time in the U.S. Senate, I have had the privilege of being a part of the confirmation process for each Justice currently sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court. As such, over the years, I have had the opportunity to meet with many of our nation’s most talented jurists. At this time, I consider Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be the most qualified Supreme Court nominee that I have encountered in my 34 years in the United States Senate,” said Senator Shelby.
“As a country, we should seek to have judges who are thoughtful, fair-minded, and respectful. Judge Barrett exemplifies all of these traits. … I have the utmost confidence that she will serve the Court and this country with honesty and integrity,” Shelby continued.
Senator Shelby met with Judge Barrett in September following her nomination by President Trump to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Barrett currently serves as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and formerly clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
The Senator’s full remarks, as prepared, are as follows:
“During my time in the U.S. Senate, I have had the privilege of being a part of the confirmation process for each Justice currently sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court.
“As such, over the years, I have had the opportunity to meet with many of our nation’s most talented jurists.
“At this time, I consider Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be the most qualified Supreme Court nominee that I have encountered in my 34 years in the United States Senate.
“Judge Barrett, born and raised in the New Orleans area, is the eldest of seven children.
“If you take a look at her scholastic credentials, you know she was an exceptional student.
“Judge Barrett graduated magna cum laude from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.
“She also graduated summa cum laude from Notre Dame Law School, where she was the executive editor of the Notre Dame Law Review and finished first in her class.
“Judge Barrett is no stranger to the courtroom. She has decades of exemplary professional legal experience that deem her well qualified to sit as a Supreme Court Justice.
“Following law school, Judge Barrett clerked for Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
“One year later, she clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Scalia – gaining fundamental legal experience that would help shape her future legal career.
“From there, she practiced law and taught as a visiting professor at George Washington University Law School. Judge Barrett went on to serve as a law professor for 15 years at her alma mater, Notre Dame Law School. In that span, she was awarded Notre Dame Law School’s ‘Distinguished Professor of the Year’ award three separate times.
“Most recently, in 2017, Judge Barrett was confirmed as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. During that time, she authored 79 majority opinions as a circuit court judge.
“While Judge Barrett’s education and professional experience are certainly noteworthy, it is her judicial philosophy and temperament that truly set her nomination apart.
“I am a firm believer that any nominee to the Supreme Court must demonstrate that he or she consistently and honorably applies the law, as it is written – impartially and equally to all individuals.
“Judge Barrett has time and again shown, through her opinions and statements, that she will base her decisions on the law and the Constitution – not on personal policy preferences.
“She has demonstrated a deep commitment to the Constitution and its protections established by our Founding Fathers.
“When considering potential nominees to the Supreme Court, I find one’s judicial temperament to be vitally important.
“The American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary – which consists of 19 lawyers who conduct nonpartisan peer reviews of federal judicial nominees – relies on confidential assessments of judges, lawyers, law professors and deans, community leaders, and others with knowledge of the nominee.
“For Judge Barrett, the committee invited 944 people to provide input. Here are a few of the comments provided: ‘whip smart, highly productive, punctual and well-prepared;’ ‘a brilliant writer and thinker;’ ‘an intellectual giant with people skills and engaging warmth;’ ‘the myth is real, she is a staggering academic mind;’ Barrett ‘has demonstrated stellar judicial temperament in all settings: she is often described as a good listener who makes time for people, whether they are law students, law clerks, colleagues, or friends.’
“Also of note are these comments from Randall Noel, the chair of the ABA Standing Committee: Barrett ‘is incredibly honest and forthright;’ Barrett is an ‘exemplar of living an integrated life in which her intellect, integrity, and compassion weave the different threads of her life together seamlessly;’ ‘all of the experienced, dedicated, and knowledgeable sitting judges, legal scholars, and lawyers who have worked with or against Judge Barrett had high praise for her intellect and ability to communicate clearly and effectively.’
“It is no surprise that the American Bar Association found Barrett’s professional competence to have exceeded their high standards for Supreme Court nominees.
“As a country, we should seek to have judges who are thoughtful, fair-minded, and respectful. Judge Barrett exemplifies all of these traits.
“I consider the Constitutional role of advice and consent on Supreme Court nominees to be one of my most important responsibilities here in the Senate.
“Judge Amy Coney Barrett is as qualified for the United States Supreme Court as any nominee that I have encountered, and I have the utmost confidence that she will serve the Court and this country with honesty and integrity.
“I look forward to voting to confirm her nomination and encourage my colleagues in the Senate to do the same.
“I yield the floor.”