According to The New York Times, Amy Coney Barrett is a member of the Catholic group People of Praise. Group members must swear a lifelong oath of loyalty to each other, and they believe that husbands are the heads of their wives and have authority over them. Also, each person is assigned a personal advisor called a “head” (for men) or “handmaid” (for women). The Times reports that “current and former members say that the heads and handmaids give direction on important decisions, including whom to date or marry, where to live, whether to take a job or buy a home and how to raise children.”
Amy Coney Barret
Vox reports that the group’s use of the word “handmaid” prompted Newsweek, Reuters, and other major news outlets to point out individuals of Praise group as an inspiration for Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. But, Vox mentions, Atwood has given various statements about the book’s inspiration. In previous interviews, she has actually gone on record stating that individuals of Hope, and not the People of Appreciation, motivated The Handmaid’s Tale.
In President Donald Trump’s nomination, he applauded Judge Barrett’s achievements, which include acting as a law clerk for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump called her “one of our nation’s most dazzling and gifted legal minds,” per the Times.