Judge Amy Coney Barrett will be the speaker for Hillsdale College’s 168th commencement ceremony, which will be held on May 9.
Barrett, a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, earned her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Rhodes College and her J.D. from Notre Dame University, where she currently serves on the law school faculty. President Donald Trump appointed her to the court of appeals in November 2017.
“We are excited that the Honorable Amy Coney Barrett has accepted our offer to address the class of 2020 during the college’s 168th spring commencement,” Provost Christopher VanOrman said in an email. “She spoke at Hillsdale College’s Washington, D.C., campus in May 2019 and we are looking forward to her speech here on this campus.”
Senior Class President Adam Buchman said that the senior class officers and college administrators are thankful that Barrett accepted the invitation to speak.
“We wanted somebody that we felt had a knowledge of the Constitution and could defend the things that Hillsdale stands for,” he said. “We believe that she is qualified to do that.”
Professor of Philosophy Nathan Schlueter said he believes Barrett exemplifies the ideals of Hillsdale College.
“She is truly a ‘woman for all seasons’: a devoted wife and mother of seven children — two of whom are adopted and one of whom has special needs — a law professor, circuit court judge, and principled defender of the rule of law,” Schlueter said in an email. “How does she do it? For one thing, her deep Catholic faith. For another, her husband, Jesse, a remarkable man who is himself an assistant U.S. attorney.”
Barrett has made headlines in recent years for her strong adherence to her Catholic faith. During her confirmation hearing in 2017, senators challenged Barrett on how her faith affected her decision-making. “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s a concern,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D‑Calif.
Schlueter said that Barrett’s convictions have served her well in her career.
“Like her mentor on the Supreme Court, Justice Antonin Scalia, Judge Barrett combines deep religious and moral conviction rooted with judicial restraint,” he said. “That is a very important lesson for our time, when there are great pressures to politicize the judiciary, on the one hand, and to exclude persons with deep moral and religious convictions from the court on the other.”
Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn said he believes that Barrett will be an excellent commencement speaker.
“I have not had the privilege of meeting Judge Barrett, who has been to our campus more than once. Many here know her. They report a woman of sharp mind and high conviction,” Arnn said in an email. “She is a leading jurist, and her opinions show depth of both knowledge and reflection. That her name has been mentioned for the Supreme Court of the United States makes one hopeful for the direction of the court.”