Particularly poignant to me was her long and deep friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia, my own mentor. Justices Scalia and Ginsburg disagreed fiercely in print without rancor in person. Their ability to maintain a warm and rich friendship despite their differences even inspired an opera. These two great Americans demonstrated that arguments, even about matters of great consequence, need not destroy affection.
In both my personal and professional relationships, I strive to meet that standard. I was lucky enough to clerk for Justice Scalia. And given his incalculable influence on my life, I am very moved to have members of the Scalia family here today, including his dear wife, Maureen. I clerked for Justice Scalia more than 20 years ago, but the lessons I learned still resonate. His judicial philosophy is mine, too. A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.
The president has asked me to become the ninth justice, and as it happens I am used to being in a group of nine — my family. Our family includes me; my husband, Jesse; Emma; Vivian; Tess; John Peter; Liam; Juliet; and Benjamin. Vivian and John Peter, as the president said, were born in Haiti, and they came to us five years apart, when they were very young. And the most revealing fact about Benjamin, our youngest, is that his brothers and sisters unreservedly identity him as their favorite sibling.
Our children obviously make our life very full. While I am a judge, I’m better known back home as a room parent, car pool driver and birthday party planner. When schools went remote last spring, I tried on another hat. Jesse and I became co-principals of the Barrett e-learning academy. And yes, the list of enrolled students was a very long one. Our children are my greatest joy, even though they deprive me of any reasonable amount of sleep.
I could not manage this very full life without the unwavering support of my husband, Jesse. At the start of our marriage, I imagined that we would run our household as partners. As it has turned out, Jesse does far more than his share of the work. To my chagrin, I learned at dinner recently that my children consider him to be the better cook. For 21 years, Jesse has asked me every single morning what he can do for me that day. And though I almost always say, “Nothing,” he still finds ways to take things off my plate. And that’s not because he has a lot of free time. He has a busy law practice. It is because he is a superb and generous husband, and I am very fortunate.