Kamala Harris showed her shrewd prosecutorial skills in setting up her question to Judge Barrett on climate change.
After Senator Harris got Judge Barrett to affirm that 1) yes, the coronavirus is infectious and 2) smoking causes cancer, she proceeded to the real question: would Judge Barrett likewise affirm that “climate change is happening and it’s threatening the air we breathe and the water we drink.”
But here, Barrett drew an indefensible line.
She refused to affirm the reality of climate change — which is just as scientifically established as the other two matters about which Senator Harris had asked her. Her reason? That climate change is “a very contentious matter of public debate, and I will not do that, I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially one that is politically controversial.”
Now, it is true that climate change is politically controversial. But it is not scientifically controversial.
Since when is it allowed for a Justice on the Supreme Court to let political considerations erase factual reality?
The Republicans spent a great deal of disingenuous time at the beginning of these hearings trying to establish that the Supreme Court’s business is not politics, but the application of the Constitution and the Law.
Yet Barrett says that she cannot affirm the virtually unanimous findings of the climate scientists because there are political interests who have found it advantageous to deny the science!
There’s no integrity whatever in this picture.
That there would be no integrity in today’s Republican Party is no surprise.
(If their judicial appointments weren’t all about politics, why would they contort American precedent to keep a moderate like Merrick Garland off the Court so they could fill the seat with a right-winger? And why would they ram through this right-winger even as people are voting for a new President, likely voting out in a landslide the President who nominated her?)
But there’s also no integrity in a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court who
- will affirm that smoking causes cancer, because the deniers and liars about that scientific finding have already lost that battle, but
- will refuse to affirm that climate change is real, that it is already happening, and that it jeopardizes the human future— because the President who nominated her and the Party who wants to confirm her are still lying and denying in the service of vested interests even mightier than the tobacco industry.
This alone should be reason enough to reject the Barrett nomination. (But, of course, since the Party that itself is completely morally bankrupt has the power, no blatant demonstration of moral bankruptcy will interfere with her confirmation.)
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