President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court once said “the earth is warming” and “humans are contributing,” The Atlantic reports.
“The earth is warming. Humans are contributing,” Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was appointed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals by former President George W. Bush, told a federal courtroom in a hearing on former President Barack Obama’s climate policy two years ago. “There is a moral imperative. There is a huge policy imperative. The pope’s involved.”
A few years before that, Kavanaugh wrote in a judicial opinion: “The task of dealing with global warming is urgent and important at the national and international level.”
Kavanaugh has heard dozens of cases involving the Environmental Protection Agency, leaving legal scholars with hundreds of pages of opinions on climate change and the environment.
“We probably have more of a record for Kavanaugh for environmental law than we do for anyone else in recent memory,” Harvard University School of Law professor Richard Lazarus, who has argued more than a dozen cases before the Supreme Court, told the Atlantic. He notes that although multiple recent justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, all sat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, “none of them had the same number of EPA cases that Kavanaugh’s had.”
Environmental law professor Ann Carlson of UCLA added Kavanaugh is “a kinder, gentler version of Antonin Scalia. I think his judicial philosophy is almost identical, but he’s more polite, and more able to make nice noises about the underlying policies.”
Lazarus agreed, saying the judge “is a really decent person, with enormous integrity, and there’s just not that kind of bent with him. But he is a conservative judge and a stickler for the notion of separation of powers. If he’s going to find an agency has sweeping regulatory authority, with significant economic or social implications, he’s going to want to find that Congress really intended it. He’s going to want to see specific language in the statute that says Congress really meant to give that authority away.”