Barrett had ‘rare gift of lifting everyone around her;’ former clerk and law student praise her kindness

Supreme Court Nominations

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Amanda Rauh-Bieri and Laura Wolk speak during the fourth day of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearing. Images from C-SPAN.

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is kind and brilliant, according to a former law clerk and a former law student who said she has been a mentor and source of encouragement.

Barrett “has the rare gift of lifting everyone around her,” said Amanda Rauh-Bieri, a law clerk during Barrett’s first term on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Chicago.

Rauh-Bieri testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday along with former University of Notre Dame law student Laura Wolk.

Rauh-Bieri said she could tell from the beginning of her clerkship that Barrett had a rare set of qualities. She was a brilliant thinker who analyzes issues with striking clarity and precision. She was dedicated and disciplined, as well as thoughtful and compassionate. She approaches each case with an open mind, appreciates the real-life impact of her decisions, and writes with empathy.

Barrett created a culture that encouraged her clerks to voice their opinions, even if the judge would ultimately disagree, Rauh-Bieri said. The judge approached her colleagues with same gracious humility that she showed to her law clerks.

Rauh-Bieri said she was unsure of herself in law school, and she didn’t know whether she had what it takes to succeed. Barrett’s example and mentorship inspired confidence that Rauh-Bieri didn’t know she had.

Wolk said she had a life-changing interaction with Barrett soon after she began law school at the University of Notre Dame. Wolk is blind, and she relies heavily on assisted technology. Before arriving at the school, Wolk worked hard to make sure that the law school would have a backup for her technology. But the backup wasn’t available, and almost “on cue” Wolk’s personal laptop began to fail.

Wolk said she talked with Barrett about her concerns, expressing concerns about the technology failure, as well as her fears of failing in class. When Wolk had finished, Barrett told her: “This is no longer your problem; it’s my problem.”

The technology quickly arrived, allowing Wolk to excel. She is now the first blind person to clerk for a Supreme Court justice.

Wolk said Barrett has remained a constant source of strength, encouragement and solace.

“She has given me a gift of immeasurable value, the ability to live an abundant life with the potential to break down barriers,” Wolk said.

If Barrett is confirmed, the country “will gain the service of one of the kindest individuals I have ever known,” Wolk said.

Rauh-Bieri and Wolk were among eight speakers at Barrett’s confirmation hearing Thursday who followed representatives of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. The ABA representatives testified about the reasons for Barrett’s “well qualified” rating.

Others on the panel included an abortion rights advocate who had

What You Need to Know About Gift Cards and the Law

Gift cards are the quintessential easy gift idea. Everybody uses them, and they avoid questions like “Will this fit her?” or “Will he like this?” Gift cards and gift certificates are available from all sorts of stores, ranging from the mundane like grocery stores and drug stores to more specialized businesses like spas and travel agencies. No matter where you purchase or receive a card from, however, it is important to protect yourself as a consumer and be familiar with your rights surrounding gift card use. After all, these are used as form of currency and ought to be treated as frugally as one would treat cash.

What can I do with a gift card I don’t want?

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Can my gift card expire? Can I lose the balance on my gift card?

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The long answer: It depends on what state you live in, and the extent to which your state is complying with federal law.

In 2009, the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act [gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-111publ24/pdf/PLAW-111publ24.pdf] passed into federal law. The act covers a lot of ground surrounding the protection of credit cardholders, but it also created some federal standards for gift card issuers that are intended to protect consumers. These include requiring that cards, with a few exceptions, expire no less than five years after issuance and that dormancy fees can only be charged after one year of inactivity and only if these fees are fully disclosed to consumers. According to the CARD Act, stores are allowed to begin charging dormancy fees – meaning, a charge to keep the card active when it has not been used after a certain amount of time – after one year of inactivity, and no more than one charge per month. Eventually, these charges may deplete the value of the card. This is an important way stores and major card issuers like American Express make money. However, some states have introduced additional, and sometimes contradictory, legislation surrounding gift card law.

For example, New York law allows stores to begin charging monthly dormancy fees after just one year of inactivity. It is also legal for stores to charge a replacement fee for lost cards, and they do not require stores to give cash back for small balances on cards. …