Barrett Says She's 'Acquired a Thick Skin' on SCOTUS

'Public criticism kind of comes with the job'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2023 7:36 PM CDT
Barrett Says She's 'Acquired a Thick Skin' on SCOTUS
Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett speaks during the Seventh Circuit Judicial Conference Monday, Aug. 28, 2023, in Lake Geneva, Wis.   (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

It's been almost three years since Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the third of Donald Trump's three nominees, joined the Supreme Court and she says she's developed a "thick skin" in that time amid increasing criticism of the court. "I think that justices and all judges are public figures and public criticism kind of comes with the job," she told a judicial conference in Wisconsin Monday, per CNN. Barrett was "gently interviewed" by former colleague Diane Sykes, chief judge of the 7th US Circuit Court, at the 7th Circuit Judicial Conference, the Washington Post reports.

Barrett, 51, noted that a few years ago, she was a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, not a major public figure. "I've been at it for a couple of years now, and I've acquired a thick skin," Barrett said. "And I think that's what public figures have to do and that's what all judges have to do," she said. Sykes, who was also on Trump's list of potential nominees, didn't ask Barrett about reports that other justices may have violated ethics rules, or about calls for the the country's top court to adopt a code of conduct, CNN notes. Barrett said that when she was a law clerk in the pre-internet era, visitors to the Supreme Court would sometimes ask the justice for directions because they didn't recognize who they were, the AP reports.

"I think that's better," Barrett said. "I don't think justices should be recognizable in that sense." Barrett has sided with the court's conservative majority in big decisions, including the one that overturned Roe v Wade last year. But despite the wide differences in opinion, there's "warm personal relations" on the court, she said. "There's an effort to accommodate one another." She said that when she joined the court in October 2020, liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor provided her children with personalized Halloween bags. (More Amy Coney Barrett stories.)

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