A group of young people now have a landmark case that could force the federal government to take action on climate change. It will move forward despite efforts from the Trump administration to halt its progress.
On Friday night, the Supreme Court declined to stop the lawsuit, Juliana vs. United States, after briefly delaying it last month.
The suit alleges that the plaintiffs’ constitutional right to life and liberty has been compromised by the government’s decision to create an energy system which relies on fossil fuels. It also argues that the government has failed to protect public trust resources like U.S. waters and general atmosphere.
The highest court wrote in a three page order that the stay could still be declared by the Trump Administration in the 9th Circuit Court.
The government contends that the lawsuit is “based on an assortment of unprecedented legal theories” and that the issues at play do not belong in the courtroom. But the Supreme Court moved the case back to the lower court after initially granting the government the stay.
“[T]he 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,” read the order on Friday.
“These young people have clinched a critical victory in the fight to preserve a livable planet,” said Kassie Siegel, who directs the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute.
“Thanks to the brave plaintiffs, the Trump administration’s climate denial and obstruction is now on trial. Our money is on the kids.”
Julie Olson, the executive director and chief legal counsel for Our Children’s Trust, said in a statement:
“The youth of our nation won an important decision today from the Supreme Court that shows even the most powerful government in the world must follow the rules and process of litigation in our democracy,” said Olson. “We have asked the District Court for an immediate status conference to get Juliana v. U.S. back on track for trial in the next week.”