Your legal career is but a means to an end, and…that end is building the kingdom of God.


HR King
Aug 16, 2005
Hell, Michigan
ACB spoke these words before joining the court. This article counters it is out of context. Is it? Do we have to have faith in her that it isn't literal?

She spoke those words in a commencement speech at Notre Dame as an associate professor. Much to my surprise, there have been heated exchanges about it. Most people say this single sentence proves Barrett will force her beliefs on others. The result will be some kind of “Handmaiden’s Tale” world. says this: “Thus, Barrett is saying that law should be used to advance faith.”

Is that what she is really saying, though? You can find the entire speech online. She begins her speech expressing that Notre Dame graduates “will fulfill the promise of being a different kind of lawyer.” Then she speaks those infamous words:

And that is this: that you will always keep in mind that your legal career is but a means to an end, and as Father Jenkins told you this morning, that end is building the kingdom of God.
Next, she explains herself. Barret tells the graduates, “But if you can keep in mind that your fundamental purpose in life is not to be a lawyer, but to know, love, and serve God, you truly will be a different kind of lawyer.”

She offers suggestions “for ways in which you might go about being a different kind of lawyer, one who treats his or her career as a means to the end of serving God rather than an end in itself.” First, she says, pray before accepting a job, asking God how to best serve Him. Secondly, she recommends tithing. This will help them remember their earnings should be used in the service of God. Finally, she suggests graduates become active in parishes and develop relationships there. This is important because:

It’s only when you’re an independent operator that your career takes over. When your life is placed firmly within a web of relationships, it is much easier to keep your career in its proper place.
None of this sounds like anything out of the ordinary. Certainly, this is no cause for alarm. It sounds to me as if she is ultimately saying, “Remember who you are.”



HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
It's pretty common to remind Christians that their ultimate goal in life is to build the kingdom of God. To me that's not strange or disturbing at all.

That said I'm not going to excuse it if someone takes building the kingdom of God as an invitation to pass laws that do things like force prayer in schools.