Landmark climate trial is on again

By Dawn Stover, November 5, 2018

A rally outside the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on October 29 was one of many across the country to show support for a federal climate lawsuit brought by 21 youth. Credit: Peg HunterA rally outside the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on October 29 was one of many across the country to show support for a federal climate lawsuit brought by 21 youth. Credit: Peg Hunter

Late last Friday, the Supreme Court denied the Trump administration’s latest request to halt an unprecedented lawsuit brought by 21 young Americans who are seeking federal action to stabilize the climate. Chief Justice John Roberts’ temporary stay of the Juliana v. United States trial—an unusual move that some legal analysts saw as an indicator of high interest at the high court—is now lifted.

As the last sentence of the court order notes, Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch would have granted the government’s application to block the suit. The court, however, ruled that the government should instead seek relief from the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which has twice declined to intervene but has not ruled out a reassessment. The order “did not foreclose the possibility that the government could return to the Supreme Court yet again,” noted a reporter for SCOTUSblog, a law blog that tracks cases before the high court.

Our Children’s Trust, a nonprofit group representing the youth plaintiffs, immediately asked the US District Court in Oregon for a status conference to get the case “back on track for trial in the next week.” The trial is likely to shine a bright light on federal climate policies that the plaintiffs say are threatening their constitutional rights, and those of future generations, to a livable climate.


Publication Name: SCOTUSblog
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