October 14, 2020 at 5:19 PM EDT
Barrett says her views on climate change are irrelevant to court’s work
By Ann Marimow, Dino Grandoni and Derek Hawkins
Barrett told senators her views on climate change are not relevant to the work she would do if confirmed to the Supreme Court.
“I do not think 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,” she said in response to Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who asked her whether she believes humans cause global warming.
“I do not think I am competent to opine on what causes global warming or not,” Barrett said.
Later, under questioning from Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, Barrett declined to say whether climate change was real and a threat to human health, calling it a “very contentious matter.”
“I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially one that is politically controversial because that’s inconsistent with the judicial role, as I have explained," she said.
A climate change case is already on the Supreme Court’s docket. The high court will hear a case involving several oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, being sued by the city of Baltimore, which is seeking to hold them financially responsible for their greenhouse gas contributions. Barrett’s father spent much of his career as a lawyer for Shell.
While her time on the 7th Circuit has been relatively brief, Barrett’s record suggests she has a restrictive view on when environmentalists can bring lawsuits, experts say. She wrote the majority opinion in at least two cases — including one brought by a park preservation group against Barack Obama’s presidential center in Chicago — denying opponents standing in court.