Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Trump administration wants the Supreme Court to throw out landmark youth climate case
The landmark climate case has so far survived multiple attempts to block it.
JUL 18, 2018, 1:26 PM
The Trump administration has gone to the Supreme Court in an effort to stop a landmark climate case brought against the federal government by 21 children and young adults. The last-ditch effort comes ahead of a court hearing on the case scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
On Tuesday, Solicitor General Noel Francisco from the Department of Justice (DOJ) asked the Court to block any further legal proceedings in what it calls an “ill-conceived suit” — including Wednesday’s hearing. The government is also seeking to stay discovery and trial in the U.S. District Court of Oregon where the case is scheduled for October.
In what legal experts have called a groundbreaking piece of climate litigation, the lawsuit seeks to hold the federal government accountable for its role in perpetuating climate change. The final decision could shape the future of climate litigation for years to come.
The government is “desperately trying to outrun the justice system,” Erika Lennon, senior attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law, said in an email to ThinkProgress. “The Supreme Court should see this as nothing more than the latest contortion by the Trump Administration to avoid facing these courageous youths in court, deny the government’s request, and allow this case to proceed using the normal judicial process.”
Below is a copy of the motion to dismiss (may take a few seconds to load):
View the full document here.
Behind the facade of optimism at least some greens seem to have accepted that the case has very little hope of success. James Hansen recently accused President Obama of failing to settle the lawsuit when he had the opportunity. Hansen claims that if Obama had done what Hansen asked, it would have been far more difficult for President Trump to unwind Obama’s climate policies.
… Hansen even accuses Obama of passing up the opportunity to thwart Donald Trump’s destruction of US climate action, by declining to settle a lawsuit the scientist, his granddaughter and 20 other young people are waging against the government, accusing it of unconstitutionally causing peril to their living environment.
“Near the end of his administration the US said it would reduce emissions 80% by 2050,” Hansen said.
“Our lawsuit demands a reduction of 6% a year so I thought, ‘That’s close enough, let’s settle the lawsuit.’ We got through to Obama’s office but he decided against it. It was a tremendous opportunity. This was after Trump’s election, so if we’d settled it quickly the US legally wouldn’t be able to do the absurd things Trump is doing now by opening up all sorts of fossil fuel sources.” …
In my opinion this hopeless lawsuit is an abuse of the trust and emotional well being of plaintiffs who are too young and inexperienced to properly understand how they are being used as pawns to advance a selfish political agenda.