America Can’t Afford Another Climate Denier on the Supreme Court, Barrett Backers Will Pay a Price with Voters
Washington, D.C. — Today, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-0 to advance the nomination of Supreme Court nominee and climate denier Amy Coney Barrett during a sham vote that was boycotted by the Democratic members of the committee.
On Tuesday, in her written responses to Questions for the Record, Barrett quadrupled down on her climate denial, refusing once again to answer questions about climate change and other key environmental issues, including the landmark 5-4 Massachusetts v. EPA climate decision, the Waters of the United States Rule, auto emissions, coal emissions, and the National Climate Assessment. She responded that climate change is a “political controversy” and her views are “not relevant to my job as a judge.”
The committee vote was along party lines with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) — all of who are in increasingly close re-election campaigns — pushed the nomination forward.
These disturbing answers follow last week’s disqualifying responses to similar questions at her confirmation hearings, during which she called climate change a “contentious matter” despite universal-acknowledgment from scientists and experts that human action is fueling the crisis. In response to a question from Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Barrett said she does not “have views that are informed enough.” Later, under questioning from Sen. Kamala Harris, Barrett refused to agree that climate change is threatening clean air and water, referring to climate change as too “contentious” and “controversial” to weigh in on. “I’m not a scientist” and similar refrains echoed by Barrett are long-used diversion tactics employed by Republicans to dodge questions on climate change and their anti-science records.
“The Republican senators who voted to move Barrett forward today are about to find out that voters will hold them accountable for rushing a climate denier onto the Supreme Court,” said Climate Power 2020 Executive Director Lori Lodes. “This sham process has been an affront to the voters, who deserve a voice when it comes to the future of the Supreme Court and climate action. The last thing our country can afford is a climate denier who will use her lifetime seat on the Supreme Court to block climate action and roll back our environmental laws for decades to come. Make no mistake, this illegitimate push to install Barrett will only further energize tens of millions of Americans who are already rushing to the polls to vote for climate.”
In addition to her outright climate denial and refusal to answer important questions on key climate and environmental issues, Barrett also refused to commit to recusing herself from cases involving Shell Oil and the American Petroleum Institute (API), where her father has served in leadership roles for decades. API is Big Oil’s lobby shop in Washington and is expected to spend tens of millions of dollars to defeat clean energy and climate legislation under a Biden administration. Polluter front groups like API regularly challenge clean air and clean water regulations and it’s highly likely that Barrett could be a deciding vote in those cases.
Barrett’s climate denial is politically harmful to a number of Republican senators running for re-election in tight races this November. Sens. Lindsey Graham, Thom Tillis, Joni Ernst, and John Cornyn — all members of the Judiciary Committee — will have to account to voters for their decision to elevate a climate denier despite increasing support by voters in their respective states for climate action.
Sens. Cory Gardner, Martha McSally, Susan Collins, and Kelly Loeffler are running behind their challenges and have faced heavy criticism over their climate denial throughout the election. Barrett’s decision to deny climate change multiple times over the course of the hearing will force these senators to further justify their support of her nomination to their climate-conscious voters.