During the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings this week on President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Senator Kamala Harris, Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate, revealed her climate change dogma with her flaccid attempt at “gotcha” questions for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

During the three days of hearings, Democratic senators on the committee tried to get Judge Barrett to blunder in her responses. It was a fruitless pursuit.  Rather, she refused to discuss any potential issue that may go before the Supreme Court, which is consistent with judicial ethics and past practice of prior nominees.

Committee senators were no match for Judge Barrett, whose poise and brilliance were on full display as she schooled them. That did not keep some senators from attempting to trap her somehow.

Sen. Harris asked a series of non-controversial questions with obvious answers in the hopes Judge Barrett would opine on weightier, controversial issues. She asked the Judge if “cigarettes cause cancer” and if “coronavirus is contagious.” Basically, yes and yes, the Judge responded.

Then (drum roll) Harris asked Barrett, “Do you believe climate change is threating the air we breathe and the water we drink?”

Judge Barrett responded to the V.P. nominee that climate change is a “very contentious matter of public debate” and that she will “not express a view on a matter of public policy …that is politically controversial because that is inconsistent with the judicial role.”

Sen. Harris thought she scored big! “Thank you, Judge Barrett; and you’ve made your point clear that you think [climate change] is a debatable point,” she said, with her familiar smirk. [Addendum:  Sen. Richard Blumenthal also posed climate gotcha questions.]

In reality, Judge Barrett stated the obvious, while Sen. Harris appeared narrow and sophomoric.  Climate change is a contentious public policy debate.  The disturbing revelation in this exchange is that the possible next Vice President—and President in waiting—believes climate change and its impact are not debatable.

To paraphrase Sen. Diane Feinstein, the climate dogma lives loudly within Kamala Harris.

As with many others, climate change is tantamount to a religious faith for Sen. Harris, and thus inerrant.  In contrast to traditional religious believers in America (e.g., Judge Barrett), a Vice President or President Harris will seek to impose her religious doctrine of climate change on America. This would cost trillions of taxpayer dollars and will harm our economy, job market and living standards, in exchange for the theoretical hope that average global temperature drops by a degree lower than its computer projection in 30 years.  Indeed, the separation of church and state does not apply to Kamala Harris’ climate religion.

Not for the first time in history have authority figures declared a policy or scientific matter closed to debate. Just ask Galileo, who challenged the scientific orthodoxy of his day in the early 1600’s. In Judge Barrett’s case, all she did was make the evident point that climate change is a “controversial” subject, without indicating her own view, one way or the other.

Still, that was too much for Sen. Harris, who brooks no dissent, or even acknowledgement there could be various scientific views on climate.

 Sen. Harris playing “gotcha” with her climate question also indicates how untruthful she and Mr. Biden are in downplaying their support for the multi-trillion dollar Green New Deal and banning hydro-fracturing of natural gas.  They are all in on these issues.

Judge Barrett also wisely avoided the climate subject since climate policies have been, and will continue to be, litigated in the courts. Last January, for example, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the ninth circuit dismissed a major climate case, Juliana v. U.S.  By a 2-to-1 vote, the court ruled that the “children” plaintiffs lacked standing and the judicial branch lacked the constitutional power to impose a “remedial plan” for the climate.

You can safely wager that a Harris-Biden administration will appoint judges who rule the opposite, at least as a fallback should Congress balk at passing the Green New Deal into law.

The close-minded dogmatism on climate change represented by Kamala Harris is ominous, considering the multitude of variables that affect the planet’s climate, which always is changing, and the litany of catastrophic global warming predictions that failed to materialize.  It also is worrisome that such close-mindedness and groupthink on climate change from politicians and un-elected bureaucrats could lead to enormous economic harm to middle income, working class and poor Americans who are reliant on affordable energy and the millions of job-holders that depend on the same.


  • CFACT Ed

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  • Peter Murphy

    Peter Murphy is Senior Fellow at CFACT. He has researched and advocated for a variety of policy issues, including education reform and fiscal policy, both in the non-profit sector and in government in the administration of former New York Governor George Pataki. He previously wrote and edited The Chalkboard weblog for the NY Charter Schools Association, and has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Hill, New York Post, Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal. Twitter: @PeterMurphy26 Website: https://www.petermurphylgs.com/