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Court Pick and Science

The confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court could affect the influence of federal science agencies in court cases and the transparency of those agencies, according to Nature News.

President Donald Trump nominated Barrett to the court to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and plans to push through the Senate confirmation process by the US election in early November, the New York Times reports.

If confirmed, Nature News writes that Barrett's presence on the court could affect how it views federal scientific agencies. It notes that liberal justices tended to rely on "deference" to science agencies on technical disputes and how the agencies have interpreted laws, acknowledging that the agency employees are experts. But, it adds conservative justices tend to argue that interpreting laws is the role of the courts, and that Barrett is expected to as well.

Additionally, Nature News noted that, depending on when Barrett is confirmed, she may hear a case involving the Sierra Club and the US Fish and Wildlife Service regarding how much information government agencies must release to the public. This case, it says, could have implications beyond environmental regulations. "What is at stake is how transparent science agencies need to be with their use of scientific information," Andrew Rosenberg from the Union of Concerned Scientists tells it.