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Students praise Barrett’s ‘intelligence, fairness, decency, generosity, humility’

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by Christine Rousselle

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Oct 15, 2020 / 09:30 am MT (CNA).- Over 600 students and alumni of Notre Dame Law School have signed a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

“We are convinced that Judge Barrett will bring to the Supreme Court the same intelligence, fairness, decency, generosity, humility, and hard work she has demonstrated at Notre Dame Law School and in her time on the Seventh Circuit” says the letter, which was written by Conor Dugan, a 2003 graduate of Notre Dame Law School who works as an attorney.

The letter is addressed to Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the ranking member of the committee.

“Barrett will continue to treat each litigant with respect and care, conscious of the reality that judicial decisions greatly affect the lives of those before the court. And she will apply the law faithfully and impartially,” says the letter.

“In short, we have no doubt that Judge Amy Barrett will be a wonderful Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.”

The letter highlighted Barrett’s academic and legal credentials, as well as her scholarship as a professor at Notre Dame Law School, her alma mater. Barrett has been on faculty at Notre Dame Law School since 2002, and continued to teach there while serving as a judge on the Seventh Circuit.

“We have come to know and love Judge Barrett, however, not for her impressive credentials, but for her presence, enthusiasm, and intellect as a faculty member at Notre Dame Law School. Judge Barrett understands that the students she teaches today will be the lawyers of tomorrow–real-world professionals in whom great trust will be placed,” says the letter.

“As a result, she is a demanding instructor, expecting her students to think deeply about the law and constantly challenging them to do so.”

Barrett, explains the letter, is “engaging and unbiased” in the classroom, and “her legal thinking is brilliant.”

“It is no wonder that the graduating class of Notre Dame Law School has selected her as ‘Distinguished Professor of the Year’ three different times,” says the letter.

Dugan told CNA that he had Barrett as a professor his third year in law school, and has kept in touch with her in the years since. He spearheaded a similar letter in 2017, when Barrett was first nominated to the Seventh Circuit.

“We just tried to bring together different Notre Dame Law alumni, who could speak about Judge Barrett in a way that I think tried to get beyond the partisan labels,” Dugan told CNA on Wednesday evening. He said Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court was a “great moment” for Notre Dame Law alumni, as well as the nation.

“We’re getting someone great as a Supreme Court nominee,” he said. He said that Barrett is a “generous, selfless” person.

The letter comes several days after a letter signed by dozens of faculty members of the University of Notre Dame requested that Barrett pause her nomination until the next president is seated. Dugan told CNA that he disagreed with the suggestion that Barrett “pause” her nomination, and admitted that this was a “tense time” in U.S. history, he also believed Judge Merrick Garland should have gotten a vote in 2016.

“The incredible quality of this candidate outweighs any concerns like that,” said Dugan. “I’m very excited about what a Justice Barrett would do for our nation.”

The faculty letter, which was published on October 10 on the website “Teacher Scholar Activist,” states that it is “vital” that Barrett issue a statement halting the nomination process until after the election in November.

“Your nomination just days after Ginsburg’s death was unseemly and a repudiation of her legacy,” said the October 10 letter. “Given your admiration for Justice Ginsburg, we ask that you repair the injury to her memory by calling for a pause in the nomination until the next president is seated.”

None of the initial 88 signatories of the October 10 letter are faculty of Notre Dame Law School. One current member of the Law School faculty, Professor Jimmy Gurulé, added his name on October 14, along with four professors emeritus of Notre Dame Law School.

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