supreme court nomination

Legal experts aren't sure how Amy Coney Barrett would approach science-related cases

September 28, 2020
OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Judge Amy Coney Barrett has yet to be confirmed to the Supreme Court, or even appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but there's been plenty of speculation about how she'll rule on certain cases if she fills the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. When it comes to areas of the law related to science and the environment, however, "she's a bit of a cipher," Robin Craig, an environmental law scholar at the University of Utah told Nature.

Sure, there are some expectations. Given Barrett's reputation as a conservative-minded judge, other legal scholars believe she'll do her part to roll back environmental regulations and curb the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to impose its rules on industry. Daniel Farber of the University of California, Berkeley, said he thinks that a potentially-strengthened conservative majority on the high court would "pretty much" leave the world "with more climate change and fewer wetlands and less biodiversity."

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But ultimately, Nature notes, the evidence just isn't there to get a clear picture of Barrett's specific thinking on science-related cases, since those don't usually come before the appeals court she oversees. As the Supreme Court has shown over the years, including some recent decisions, justices don't always follow the presumed party line. Read more at Nature. Tim O'Donnell

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