A group of teenagers challenging the failure of the government to address climate change won a skirmish with the government when the Supreme Court refused to block the young people’s lawsuit.
The suit against the U.S. government was filed in 2015 by 21 Oregon young people claiming the failure of leaders to address climate change violates their constitutional right to a clean environment. The suit, pending before a federal judge in Oregon, seeks to compel the government’s support for fossil fuel.
It had been delayed for the Supreme Court’s review. The Justices refused to halt the suit right away.
According to The Washington Post:
“We’ve been confident throughout this case that we would get to trial, and I believe we will get to trial,” Julia Olson, the attorney for the youths and executive director of Our Children’s Trust, said in an interview with The Washington Post on Friday evening. “We have overcome everything the government has thrown at us. It is not luck. It is the strength of the case and the strength of the evidence and the strength of the legal arguments we are making.”
The Obama and Trump administrations had repeatedly asked lower courts to dismiss the lawsuit, questioning its merits, saying discovery requests were “burdensome” and arguing that the suit would usurp the authorities of Congress and federal agencies.
The plaintiffs “seek nothing less than a complete transformation of the American energy system — including the abandonment of fossil fuels — ordered by a single district court at the behest of ‘twenty-one children and youth,’ ” Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco wrote in a brief to the Supreme Court.
According to Mother Jones:
The case got its start in 2015, when Julia Olson, an attorney from Eugene, gathered young climate advocates and additional attorneys to file the suit against the government. Since inheriting the case, President Donald Trump’s administration has made several attempts to stop it. “These young people deserve [the] chance to present their case against those who govern and let the light fall where it may,” Olson said in a press release last week.