Barrett claimed that the death of Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis in May, was ‘very, very personal’ as she has two adopted black children from Haiti, Vivian and John Peter.
She added that she believes racism is a problem in America but would not say whether she thinks it is systemic or not, claiming that was a decision for Congress and not her role as a judge.
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President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett gave an emotional response when she was questioned about the death of George Floyd on Tuesday
The Supreme Court nominee has two black children she adopted from Haiti. The family is pictured here with President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump
Senators probed conservative Barrett about her views on gun ownership and gay marriage, among other subjects, during Tuesday’s lengthy hearing, as they look to decide if she will replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Yet it was on the subject of racial equality that they drew an emotional response from the 48-year-old mother of seven.
Barrett claimed that the death of Floyd (pictured), a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis in May, was ‘very, very personal’ as she has two adopted black children from Haiti, Vivian and John Peter
Her voice began to crack as she described watching the video of Floyd’s death at the hands of police with her 17-year-old black daughter Vivian
Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois asked Barrett whether she had watched the footage of Floyd’s arrest, which showed white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes while he said he couldn’t breathe.
Chauvin has since been fired and charged with murder.
Barrett explained that her husband had been on a camping trip with their sons and she was at home with teenager Vivian when the video of the killing went viral.
‘All of this was erupting. It was very difficult for her,’ Barrett said. ‘We wept together in my room.’
She said it was also difficult to explain to her white daughter Juliette, who is ten.
‘As you might imagine, given that I have two black children, that was very, very personal for my family,’ Barrett added of the footage, stating that her family has continued discussions about racism and that she tries to explain it to her young children.
Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, asked Barrett whether she had watched the footage of Floyd’s arrest, during the second day of her Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, pictured
Barrett told the hearing that Floyd’s death was ‘very, very personal’ for her family
‘I mean, my children, to this point in their lives, have had the benefit of growing up in a cocoon where they have not experienced hatred or violence,’ she said.
‘For Vivian, to understand that 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,’ she continued.
‘It’s a difficult one for us like it is for Americans all over the country.’
Durbin continued to ask if the appeals court judge believes that racism is an issue in the United States.
‘I think it is an entirely uncontroversial and obvious statement, given that we just discussed the George Floyd video, that racism persists in our country,’ Barrett said.
However, she added that deciding on whether racism is systemic in the US, and if so how to address it, is ‘beyond what I am capable of doing as a judge’.
Family photo of Amy Coney Barrett, husband Jesse Barrett, and their seven children
Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s husband Jesse Barrett sits with some of their seven children as they attend his wife’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on her nomination Monday
Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s husband Jesse Barrett and son John Peter sit behind her during a confirmation hearing. John Paul and his older sister Vivian were adopted from Haiti
‘As to putting my finger on the nature of the problem, whether, as you say, it’s just outright or systemic racism or how to tackle the issue of making it better, those things are policy questions. They are hotly contested policy questions,’ she said.
‘So while, as I did share in my personal experience, I’m very happy to discuss the reaction our family had to the George Floyd video 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.’
President Trump and many in his administration have said that racism is not a systemic problem in the US despite the claims of Black Lives Matter activists, who have held protests for months following Floyd’s death.
Barrett was speaking during day two of her Senate confirmation hearing.
Throughout the long hearing, she declared her conservative views with often colloquial language, but refused many specifics.
She declined to say whether she would recuse herself from any election-related cases involving President Trump, who nominated her to fill the seat of the late Justice Ginsburg and is pressing to have her confirmed before the the November 3 election
Barrett returned to a Capitol Hill mostly shut down by COVID-19 protocols, the mood quickly shifting to a more confrontational tone from opening day.
She was grilled by Democrats strongly opposed to Trump’s nominee yet unable to stop her.
Excited by the prospect of a judge aligned with the late Antonin Scalia, Trump’s Republican allies are rushing ahead to install a 6-3 conservative court majority for years to come.
The president seemed pleased with her performance. ‘I think Amy’s doing incredibly well,’ he said at the White House departing for a campaign rally.