Supreme Court nominee Barrett says she 'wept' with family over death of George Floyd

"Given the fact I have two black children, that was very, very personal for my family," Judge Barrett said.

Updated: October 13, 2020 - 2:30pm

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, undergoing her first day of questions from senators weighing her Supreme Court nomination, said Tuesday that she and her family "wept together" over the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, who is black, died on Memorial Day while in police custody. Four officers have been charged in the death, which led to widespread social justice protests and rioting across the U.S.

In the hearing Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin asked Barrett, a mother of seven, whether she had seen the footage of a police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck.

Barrett, who along with her husband adopted two black children from Haiti, said the Floyd video was "personal."

"Given the fact I have two black children, that was very, very personal for my family," Barrett said.

Barrett recalled being at home with her children, including 17-year-old Vivian, when the video emerged. 

"All of this was erupting. It was very difficult for her," Barrett said. "We wept together in my room."

"For Vivian ... to understand there would be a risk to her brother or son she might have one day, of that kind of brutality has been an ongoing conversation," Barrett said. "It's a difficult one like it is for Americans all over the country."

But as she has done throughout Senate questioning, Barrett distinguished between her feelings and her role as a judge. She would not elaborate on her thoughts about whether there is systemic racism in the U.S. when asked by Durbin to do so. When asked to explain what policies could be enacted to battle racism, the Seventh Court of Appeals judge said that would be "kind of beyond what I'm capable of doing as a judge."