Over the past week, scores of articles have been published on various aspects of Amy Coney Barrett’s character—her fitness as a judicial nominee, her acumen as a scholar, and her unapologetic commitment to the Catholic faith. But long before I had reason to consider any of these qualities, I thought of Judge Barrett simply as an answer to my prayers.
I arrived at Notre Dame in 2013. Like any new law student, my head swirled with hopes, thoughts, dreams, and fears. But unlike many other students, I also needed to singlehandedly ensure that I had access to the tools and technologies necessary for me to succeed as a completely blind person.
Unfortunately, things got off to a bumpy start. The assistive technology purchased by the university, which would have allowed me to compete on equal footing with my sighted peers, did not arrive on time. And, in keeping with Murphy’s law, my personal laptop immediately broke, leaving me overnight with no reliable way to access my texts, take notes, or otherwise keep pace in class. I needed help, and I needed it fast.
For that help, I turned to then-professor Barrett. Although I had known her for only two weeks, I felt confident that this poised, articulate woman would not dismiss my concerns and would counsel me on how to get the university to procure the needed assistive technology as quickly as possible.
But she did not merely help me to readjust the burden on my own shoulders; she took it from me and carried it herself. I will never forget the moment when she looked at me from across her desk and said, coolly and matter-of-factly, “Laura, this is not your problem anymore. It’s mine.”
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