September 17, 2020 | News | No Comments
The nation’s top court on Friday turned down the Trump administration’s latest attempt to put the brakes on a landmark lawsuit brought by a group of young people who charge that the federal government has violated their constitutional rights by actively causing climate instability.
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“The youth of our nation won an important decision,” said Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel of Our Children’s Trust and co-counsel for the youth plaintiffs. She said the finding by the U.S. Supreme Court “shows even the most powerful government in the world must follow the rules and process of litigation in our democracy.”
The plaintiffs, aged 11-22, assert (pdf) that the government “continued their policies and practices of allowing the exploitation of fossil fuels,” despite knowing, for 50 years, that doing so “would destabilize the climate system on which present and future generations of our nation depend for their well-being and survival.”
The trial did not begin on October 29 at the United States District Court in Oregon as they’d hoped because the Supreme Court issued a temporary stay while it weighed the federal government’s request for dismissal. In denying an extension of the temporary stay, the new order says the “government’s petition for a writ of mandamus does not have a ‘fair prospect’ of success in this Court because adequate relief may be available in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.” The three-page order also states that Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch would have extended the stay.
While that appeals court previously rejected the government’s requests for a stay, its basis for doing so rested “in large part, on the early stage of the litigation, the likelihood that plaintiffs’ claims would narrow as the case progressed, and the possibility of attaining relief through ordinary dispositive motions. Those reasons are, to a large extent, no longer pertinent,” the order adds.
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