Justice Department wants Supreme Court to put a halt to youth climate lawsuit

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Image Credit: Robin Loznak Photography

About a week before the groundbreaking constitutional youth climate lawsuit heads to trial, the Department of Justice is trying to have the Supreme Court of the United States throw out the case brought about by 21 youth plaintiffs.

Juliana v. United States was originally filed against the Obama administration in 2015 in which it claimed the government is accountable for climate change by allowing the creation of policies that jeopardize the environment and health of the youngest citizens of the United States and failed to protect essential public trust resources, EcoWatch reported.

“If the United States Supreme Court allows the federal branch of government to act in this manner, stops this case and denies us our right as young people to be heard in a court of law, the institutional legitimacy of this highest court will be harmed,” Aji Piper, an 18-year-old plaintiff from Seattle, said in a press release. “At this moment in our country’s history when we are so divided, it is more important than ever that the judicial branch of our government maintains the trust and respect of the American public. There is nothing great about a country that abandons its children and future generations.”

The Trump administration, who inherited the lawsuit, filed a second “writ of mandamus” petition and application for stay with the Supreme Court on Thursday. The Department of Justice claimed “impending harm” to defendants.

“Absent relief from this Court, the government imminently will be forced to participate in a 50-day trial that would violate bedrock requirements for agency decisionmaking and judicial review imposed by the [Administrative Procedure Act] and the separation of powers.”

On Friday, a third writ of mandamus petition was filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The first two petitions were denied rejecting the Department’s arguments by the judges in the Ninth Circuit, but they have yet to rule on the third petition.

“We are 6 business days from a trial we have been preparing for for three years,” Vic Barrett, a 19-year-old plaintiff from White Plains, New York, said in the press release. “The lengths my own government is going to to get this case thrown out and avoid trial is absurd and offensive.”

While a federal judge “preserved the trial’s start date” for Oct. 29 in Eugene, Oregon, the only way this wouldn’t be granted is if the Supreme Court or the Ninth Circuit rules in favor of the Trump administration.

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