Ninth Circuit Won't Dump Kids' Landmark Climate Case Against USA

10 March, 2018, 01:10 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Ninth Circuit Turns Back DOJ's Request to Knock Out Climate Change Lawsuit

21 youths are taking on the United States government over climate change in the lawsuit Juliana v. USA - and so far President Donald Trump has failed at attempts to dodge them.

The so-called "climate kids" have again had their novel case against the federal government cleared for trial.

The children allege in their suit that the changing climate has been known for decades, but policies have not changed and their constitutional rights have thus been violated, according to the court documents. She said in a prepared statement that the plaintiffs "will put the federal government's risky energy system and climate policies on trial for infringing the constitutional rights of young people". She ruled that it could proceed to trial - setting the stage for the government's appeal - that courts "too often have been cautious and overly deferential in the arena of environmental law, and the world has suffered for it".

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion in In re United States of America.

Twenty-one plaintiffs, now aged 10 to 21, accused federal officials and oil industry executives of knowing for decades that carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels destabilize the climate, but refusing to do anything about it. They are seeking a formal change of course when it comes to regulations.


A spokesperson for the DOJ didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The Trump administration said that it is based on "utterly unprecedented legal theories" and it is unreasonable to use research that was conducted as far back as the Lyndon Johnson presidency. A federal judge in OR previously denied a motion to throw it out.

"The panel held that mandamus relief was inappropriate where the district court has not issued a single discovery order, nor had the plaintiffs field a single motion seeking to compel discovery", the judges ruled. The Ninth Circuit assures the Government that there are remedies available in the trial court and the Ninth Circuit if they are needed.

"It will be the first time that climate science and the federal government's role in creating its dangers will go on trial in a US court".

Julia Olson, who represented the plaintiffs and is executive director of Our Children's Trust, which advocates for improving the climate, in an interview welcomed the decision. "However, the district court needs to consider those issues further in the first instance".

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