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The Carletonian

Amy Coney Barrett refuses to say whether she wants soup or salad

“You’re asking me to comment on a hypothetical, and I cannot characterize the facts in a hypothetical situation,” newly-confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett reportedly said to a waiter at a Washington, D.C. restaurant. 

“Ma’am,” the waiter responded, “if you would like more information, our soup du jour is minestrone. You may choose from three salad options, all of which are made and tossed in-house. Which would you like tonight?”

“To ask me that question would be eliciting an opinion. Whether you are asking me to respond in a legal capacity or in my own capacity as a citizen, any answer I give would be inconsistent with the principle of judicial rule.”

“Then you would like neither soup nor salad, ma’am? That is perfectly fine. Let me take your menu—”

“I did not indicate in any way, sir, that that was my opinion.” 

“Then—how may I assist you?”

At this point in the footage, Justice Barrett appears to lean forward slightly. One of her children emerges from his mac and cheese to place a hand on her forearm. 

“Sir, with all due respect, if the soup and the salad were to both arrive at my bench, in front of me, then I can assure you and everyone in this restaurant that I would very seriously undertake that decision process. But they are both dishes that have not yet been made, and, as such, I can’t give any off-the-cuff answers. If I gave off-the-cuff answers, I’d basically be a food critic. It is not part of the discharge of my duty to be a food critic.”

The Bald Spot’s team of legal analysts delved into Barrett’s rulings, activities and writings to determine her past stances on the question of side dishes. Her scholarly and judicial work would seem to establish Barrett as ascribing, in fact, strongly preferential treatment to soup. It would not be an exaggeration to name her one of the most pro-soup justices yet to take gavel—and spoon—in hand. 

Barrett best summarizes her position in “Catholic Judges in Restaurants That Serve Both Soup and Salad,” a Notre Dame Law Review article. She writes: “Catholic judges, if they are faithful to the church, are morally and gustatorily precluded from ever ordering salad when soup is a present alternative. This does not really have anything to do with religion. Still, I personally feel that Catholic judges especially should always rule in favor of soup (here defined as “a liquid dish typically made by boiling meat or vegetables in stock or water”) rather than salad. Originalists such as my mentor, the late Antonin Scalia, tend to interpret most soup recipes as necessitating a heated broth. Loose constructionist approaches, however, have produced colder soups. And while I am ordinarily one of the single most conservative judges on the face of the earth, here I wholeheartedly endorse both temperatures. 

“So, Catholic judges, I am discreetly hiding in the footnotes the recipe for my signature Amy Coney Bisque. It will keep you going through the least strenuous confirmation hearings. Just don’t tell the Protestant judges.” 

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