Ernst Puts Politics Ahead of Iowa Families With Vote to Confirm Climate Denier Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court

Washington, D.C. — Today, Senator Joni Ernst put politics ahead of the wellbeing, health, and safety of Iowa families by voting to confirm climate-denying Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, even as Iowans have faced devastation from historic storms like the derecho and years of record flooding.

Tonight’s 52 to 48 vote is the first time in more than 150 years that 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.

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

Ernst’s 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 Iowans. The state has been ravaged by increasingly destructive severe storms, cycles of severe flooding and drought, and increasing extreme heat. After standing by Trump’s side as the administration and Senate Republicans fueled the climate crisis, Ernst has now cemented a legacy of putting polluters ahead of people and failing to protect Iowans 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.

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