Children's Climate Change Lawsuit Allowed by Appeals Court
Children's Climate Change Lawsuit Allowed by Appeals Court
Ninth Circuit Turns Back DOJ's Request to Knock Out Climate Change Lawsuit
10 March, 2018, 01:10
21 youths are taking on the United States government over climate change in the lawsuit Juliana v. US - and so far President Donald Trump has failed at attempts to dodge them.
President Donald Trump and his administration have been trying to keep a climate change lawsuit out of appeals court in San Francisco.
There's still no guarantee the case will make it to trial.
The lawsuit brought by 21 children and young adults asserts the government has known for decades that carbon pollution causes climate change but has failed to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
In seeking to overturn that ruling, the government said letting the case proceed could lead to burdensome litigation, and provoke a "constitutional crisis" by pitting courts against Trump and the many other Executive Branch officials named as defendants.
The group of mostly teenagers in OR alleged in a 2015 complaint that government policies have exacerbated global warming in violation of their rights - and those of future generations - under the U.S. Constitution. They asked the court to force the government to formulate a formal plan to change course.
Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion in In re United States of America. Barack Obama's administration first attempted to extinguish the case in 2016, according to Bloomberg, and the Trump administration said the case is based on "utterly unprecedented legal theories".
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A three-judge panel rejected the government's petition for writ of mandamus that sought to undo.
Using a rare procedural maneuver, the Justice Department contended that the federal judge in Eugene, Oregon, who refused to dismiss the case in November 2016, had overstepped her authority.
"We are mindful that some of the plaintiffs' claims as now pleaded are quite broad, and some of the remedies the plaintiffs seek may not be available as redress", Judge Sidney Thomas wrote in the decision.
Thomas further wrote that "there is enduring value in the orderly administration of litigation by the trial courts, free of needless appellate interference".
If the Supreme Court allows this case to move forward, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken will decide what government officials will provide depositions.
Julia Olson, co-counsel for the plaintiffs and executive director of Our Children's Trust, one of the organizations supporting the kids, said the Ninth Circuit's move signaled a "green light for trial".
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