Amy Coney Barrett has dodged Democrats’ questions all week on policy matters during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. But on Wednesday, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee took it a step further and refused to discuss whether climate change is real.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California, a committee member and Joe Biden’s running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket, asked Barrett if she believed in other scientifically proven facts before bringing up climate change.
“Do you accept that COVID-19 is infectious?” Harris asked.
“Yes, I do accept that COVID-19 is infectious,” Barrett said with a chuckle. “That’s something of which I feel we can say, we take judicial notice of it. It’s an obvious fact, yes.”
“Do you accept that smoking causes cancer?” Harris continued.
“I’m not sure exactly where you’re going with this,” Barrett replied. “Yes, every package of cigarettes warns that smoking causes cancer.”
“Do you believe climate change is happening and threatening the air we breathe and water we drink?” asked Harris.
That’s when Barrett balked.
“You have asked me a series of questions that are completely uncontroversial, like whether COVID-19 is infectious, whether smoking causes cancer, and then trying to analogize that to elicit an opinion from me that is on a very contentious matter of public debate,” she said. “I will not do that.”
Barrett continued, “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.”
Climate change itself is not a policy matter ― how do deal with it is. Nor should it be viewed as controversial. As spelled out on NASA’s climate change website for children, it is happening and the primary cause is greenhouse gas emissions from cars, power plants and other human-made sources.
NASA scientists track the planet’s surface warming, and many of the past 20 years have been the warmest on record. A group of 1,300 scientific experts from around the world has concluded a more than 95% probability exists that human activities over the past 50 years have contributed to this warming.
Harris let Barrett’s refusal to comment on climate change speak for itself.
“You’ve made your point clear that you believe it’s a debatable point,” she said.