Energy & Environment

Barrett says she doesn’t have ‘firm views’ on climate change

Bonnie Cash

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Tuesday night said that she doesn’t have “firm views” on climate change when pressed on the issue during her confirmation hearing. 

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) asked the nominee what she thinks about a series of issues, including climate change.

“My colleagues seem to think you’re only qualified if you’re dumb, if you have a blank slate, if you’ve never thought about the world. You’ve thought about the world, haven’t you?” Kennedy asked.

She affirmed that she had. 

Kennedy then asked her about nuclear energy, affirmative action and climate change. 

“I’ve read about climate change,” Barrett said. 

“And you have some opinions on climate change that you’ve thought about?” Kennedy asked. 

“I’m certainly not a scientist,” Barrett replied, using a refrain Republicans have said repeatedly on the subject.

“I’ve read things about climate change. I would not say that I have firm views on it,” she replied. 

The vast majority of scientists believe that climate change is occurring and human-caused. 

During the line of questioning, Barrett later said that her opinions weren’t relevant to court decisions. 

“You’ve formed opinions about the delivery of health care. Should you recuse yourself?” Kennedy asked, referring to a case on the Affordable Care Act that will soon be heard by the high court.

“Everyone has opinions. Any opinions that I have are just not relevant to the resolution of a case, Affordable Care Act case or anything else,” Barrett said.

Asked again about her views on climate by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Wednesday, Barrett said she didn’t believe they are relevant to the Supreme Court job.

“I don’t think that my views on global warming or climate change are relevant to the job I would do as a judge nor do I feel like I have views that are informed enough, and I haven’t studied scientific data. I’m not really in a position to offer any kind of informed opinion,” she said.

Blumenthal then asked Barrett if she agrees with President Trump’s views on climate change, to which she responded, “I don’t know that I have seen the president’s expression of his views on climate change.”

Trump has infamously called climate change a hoax. He walked that back earlier this year, saying that “nothing’s a hoax” about climate change, but as recently as last month, he cast doubt on the science behind it.

“It’ll start getting cooler, you just watch,” he said in California during a discussion on the state’s wildfires.

“I wish science agreed with you,” a California official replied.

“I don’t think science knows, actually,” Trump retorted.

In his first debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Trump was asked whether human greenhouse gas emissions contribute to the planet’s warming.

“I think a lot of things do, but I think to an extent, yes,” he said.

—Updated Wednesday at 3:34 p.m.

Tags Barrett confirmation Climate change Donald Trump Hearing Joe Biden John Kennedy Senate Judiciary Committee Supreme Court
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