Washington, D.C. — Today, Senator Thom Tillis put politics ahead of the wellbeing, health, and safety of North Carolina families by voting to confirm climate-denying Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, even as North Carolinians have faced devastation from a record-breaking hurricane season.

Tonight’s 52 to 48 vote is the first time in more than 150 years a Supreme Court nominee was confirmed solely with the support of one party.

The confirmation of Justice Barrett cements a conservative, anti-science majority on the Supreme Court as the window to take bold climate action to avert the worst consequences of the crisis begins to close.

During her confirmation hearings, Barrett dismissed the scientific consensus that climate change is real by repeatedly refusing to even acknowledge the existence of the crisis. Barrett feigned ignorance and peddled long-standing GOP climate denial messaging, like “I am not a scientist,” and calling climate change a “contentious issue” (it’s not). As a judge on the country’s highest court, ignorance is simply not an option.

“Thom Tillis has given climate denier Justice Barrett a seat on the highest court in the land, where her anti-science bias will blind her from ruling fairly on holding corporate polluters accountable and safeguarding the right to clean air and water for all Americans,” said Climate Power 2020 Spokesperson Daniela Campos Lopez. “The rush to confirm Barrett, even after early voting started for the 2020 presidential election, shows just how eager Tillis is to force Donald Trump’s anti-environmental agenda on the courts.” 

Tillis’ decision to support an illegitimate Supreme Court nominee who won’t even acknowledge well-established science shows a clear disregard for the health, safety, and economic future of North Carolinians. The state has been ravaged by increasingly destructive and frequent hurricanes, severe flooding, and extreme air and water pollution. After standing by Trump’s side as the administration and Senate Republicans fueled the climate crisis, Tillis has now cemented a legacy of putting polluters ahead of people and failing to protect North Carolinians from the existential threat of the climate crisis.

The courts have been the strongest line of defense against four years of rampant environmental deregulation by the Trump administration. Attempts to roll back environmental and health safeguards have been defeated or abandoned 69 out of 83 times after the cases were taken to the courts. Now, Barrett’s confirmation will leave millions of Americans vulnerable to losing the right to clean air and water.

North Carolinians are not likely to support Tillis’ decision to back a climate denier to the Supreme Court.  The majority — 63 percent — of North Carolinians are worried about the climate crisis and nearly as many want federal leaders to do more to address it.