4 Things to Know About Donald Trump’s Federal Judge Sister
If you’ve got “Trump” in your name this election season, you’d better be prepared for publicity — maybe not all of it good.
Maryanne Trump Barry made headlines over the weekend when her brother, Donald, suggested — jokingly he says — putting her on the Supreme Court to replace the late Antonin Scalia. On one level, this isn’t so far-fetched: Barry, you may be surprised to learn, is a senior judge for the Philly-based U.S. Court of Appeals in the Third Circuit. Of course, she’s also 78, which is a bit older than rookie Supreme Court justices tend to come these days.
Nevertheless, it became a thing. Marco Rubio, Donald Trump’s rival for the GOP presidential nomination, responded to the brother’s suggestion with fierce criticism.
“Now, it’s good to stand with your sister,” he said. “But Donald’s sister was a Bill Clinton-appointed federal appellate judge who is a radical pro-abortion extremist.” Earlier in her career, Barry criticized a New Jersey abortion law for its burdensome restrictions.
Some things to know about Judge Barry:
Her legal career started late: She didn’t start law school until her son was in six grade, yet still managed a four-decade as a lawyer and judge.
There probably wasn’t much room for her in the family real estate business. “I knew better even as a child than to even attempt to compete with Donald. I wouldn’t have been able to win. He was building models when he was very young. Huge buildings,” she told New York Magazine more than a decade ago. “I worked for my father for a number of summers, but I was doing woman’s work, decorating lobbies.”
But yeah, her brother probably helped get her the job: The New York Times last year quoted a book that quoted Barry: “There’s no question Donald helped me get on the bench. … I was good, but not that good.”
It was Ronald Reagan who initially appointed Barry to the federal bench; the Times suggests it happened after Donald Trump had his then-lawyer, Roy Cohn — yes, that Roy Cohn — give Attorney General Edwin Meese a call. “I’m no different than any other brother that loves his sister,” Trump said.
She’s not too worried about sexual harassment: To the extent she’s famous independent of the spotlight her brother attracts, it’s in part because of a 1992 speech she gave that still follows her around, in which Barry suggested women should lighten up about harassment.
“I stand second to none in condemning sexual harassment of women,” she told an audience of roughly 900 Federal law-enforcement agents and officials in Washington, most of them female, “But what is happening is that every sexy joke of long ago, every flirtation, is being recalled by some women and revised and re-evaluated as sexual harassment. Many of these accusations are, in anybody’s book, frivolous.”
Donald Trump’s next election test is Saturday in South Carolina.