GRAND RAPIDS — Right on the heels of President Trump’s Supreme Court nomination over the weekend, FOX 17 is hearing from a local attorney and mentee of Federal Appeals Court Judge, Amy Coney Barrett.
Conor Dugan, Senior Counsel at Warner Norcross and Judd LLP said, “I really think that she is a great gift to the country.”
The Grand Rapids attorney said Barrett’s knowledge of the law and ethics is unmatched.
Dugan said, “Everything you’re hearing about her is true in terms of her intellect, but one of the things that I am truly amazed at is how lightly she wears it; her humility.”
Judge Barrett and Dugan have remained in touch since he graduated from Notre Dame Law School in 2003. He often asks her for advice for both personal and professional matters.
“She is someone who has navigated some of the same pressures and issues that I have,” he said.
Since her nomination Saturday, Judge Barrett has been polarizing, with conservatives applauding the move and democrats calling into question Barrrett’s religious beliefs. Many have spoke about fears that those beliefs would impact Barret’s future rulings, including landmark abortion case, Roe v. Wade.
Dugan said, “She has the ability to listen to arguments that she doesn’t necessarily agree with or maybe has an inclination against, but to try to understand ‘why is this person making this argument.’”
Dugan points to Barrett’s own promise during her nomination speech over the weekend, where she said ‘Judges must apply the law as written.’
“She has a deep commitment to justice and the rule of law because of her faith, so when people try to make a conflict between the two things, I think they are sort of grasping at straws. I think they need to listen to her, see, and understand that she has a specific understanding of the role of judges and that she will adhere to that,” Dugan said.
That’s one of the reasons Dugan posted his thoughts on Facebook Monday, urging people to stop and listen to Barrett during upcoming confirmation hearings.
He said, “These are very intense times obviously with COVID and also our political situation and I kind of wanted to step outside of that and just speak as someone who is not invested in this administration. In fact, did not vote for the President in 2016, I will not vote for the President this time around, but think that he has done something very wonderful with this nomination.”
With many debating whether there should be a vote for the SCOTUS seat at all before the November election, Dugan had the following to say.
“I thought Merrick Garland should have gotten a vote up or down. I think elections have consequences and the President and the Senate - they don’t give up their role two months before the election or before they change office, so I think it is important to have a vote up or down.”
Barrett would be filling the seat, held by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; a champion for equality and women’s rights. That’s something Dugan said Barrett isn’t taking lightly.
“In many ways Justice Ginsburg helped to open up so many of those doors and I think Judge Barrett is cognizant of that; the opportunities that she has had are partly because of the battles that justice Ginsburg fought,” he said, “My sense of Judge Barrett is that she will very much be building on the legal shoulders of that giant.”
Dugan told FOX 17 that Judge Barrett even responded to an email from him, congratulating her once her name was floated as the SCOTUS nominee. He added that it’s little things like that that will show she’ll take the same time and care with her rulings if named the next Supreme Court Justice.
“This is someone who is the real deal. She really is as good as people say and I just think we’ve hit the jackpot with her as a nominee.”
Senate Republicans have said they hope to get confirmation hearings underway by October 12th.