Attorney Laura Wolk, the first blind woman to serve as a law clerk on the U.S. Supreme Court, praised Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday as “one of the kindest individuals” she has ever known.
A former student of Barrett’s, Wolk urged the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to confirm her former law professor to the open seat on the Supreme Court.
In doing so, America “will gain the service of one of the kindest individuals I have ever known,” Wolk said. “Her brilliance is matched only by her compassion, and her integrity is unassailable.”
Barrett is President Donald Trump’s choice to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September. If confirmed by the Senate, Barrett would solidify a strong 6-3 conservative majority on the high court.
Wolk told the senators that Barrett showed her great kindness when she began law school at the University of Notre Dame in 2013.
A major problem arose during her first few weeks of class when she lost access to the assisted technology that she relies on because of her blindness. Struggling to keep up, Wolk said she turned to Barrett, one of her new professors, for help.
Wolk said she expected that Barrett would listen to her problems and then direct her to another office or individual. Instead, she said Barrett promised to advocate for her, and she did.
“’Laura,’ she said … ‘This is no longer your problem. It’s my problem.’ I can’t capture adequately the relief that washed over me at her words,” Wolk said. “She is a woman of her word. To this day, I do not know what Judge Barrett did to solve my problem. All I know is that the technology arrived promptly, which in turn allowed me to excel and to place me into a position that eventually allowed me to apply for a position on the Supreme Court.”
If Laura Wolk’s testimony won’t convince you Judge Amy Coney Barrett will be an incredible role model in the Supreme Court, I don’t know what else will.#ConfirmAmy #SCOTUS #Justice4Life pic.twitter.com/XGeA4tDsng
— studentsforlife (@StudentsforLife) October 15, 2020
For years, Wolk said Barrett has given her strength and encouragement as she navigates life with disabilities. She said she knows many others have similar stories about Barrett’s strength and kindness.
“She has given me a gift of immeasurable value: the ability to live an abundant life with the potential to break down barriers so I can make this place a better world than I found it,” Wolk concluded. “Judge Barrett will serve this country with distinction, not only because of her intellectual prowess, but also because of her ability to treat everyone as an equal, deserving of complete respect.”
After her testimony, the Senate committee moved forward with a motion to schedule a vote on Barrett’s nomination for Oct. 22.
Barrett is a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and a former clerk of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Like Scalia, she has been described as an “originalist” judge. Though her judicial rulings on abortion are few, she did rule in support of two Indiana pro-life laws during her time on the Seventh Circuit.
She signed a letter in 2006 that described abortion as “barbaric” and called for an end to Roe v. Wade. She also was a member of the Notre Dame University Faculty for Life Group from 2010 to 2016, and she received an award from the Thomas More Society, a pro-life Catholic legal group, in 2018.
Additionally, she has made several statements about the value of babies in the womb. According to Law and Crime, Barrett signed a public letter in 2015 that emphasized “the value of human life from conception to natural death.” She also said she believes that life begins at conception.