Controversy surrounds year-old report by Amy Coney Barrett about use of the 'n-word'​

Rebekah Sager
October 14, 2020 - 4:15 pm
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As Amy Coney Barrett answers questions at the Senate during her third day of Supreme Court confirmation hearings, a recently uncovered report she wrote appears to show that a supervisor calling an employee the n-word isn’t proof of an abusive environment.

According to The Independent , while serving on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Barrett wrote an opinion upholding the dismissal of Smith v. Illinois Department of Transportation, a case in which fired Black state employee Terry Smith filed a workplace discrimination lawsuit. Among Smith’s assertions is that Lloyd Colbert, his White supervisor, called him the n-word.

Barrett wrote that using the “n-word” does not create “a hostile or abusive working environment.

Barrett, a federal judge, was nominated by President Trump to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Barrett did say of the Smith lawsuit that the word was “egregious racial epithet,” but the Black plaintiff “introduced no evidence that [the defendent’s] use of the n-word changed his subjective experience of the workplace.”