SEPTEMBER 11, 2017
By H. Sterling Burnett
A U.S. Appeals Court ordered a temporary stay in a landmark climate change lawsuit brought against the federal government by 21 youths backed by environmental activist groups.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in California ordered a temporary stay in a landmark climate change lawsuit brought against the federal government by several children backed by environmental activist groups.
In Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana et al. v. The United States of America et al., 21 people aged 10 to 21 sued the Obama administration, arguing the federal government has violated their constitutional rights by encouraging the use of fossil fuels, which produce greenhouse gases that the plaintiffs say are damaging the climate system. The Obama administration tried to have the cased dismissed in November 2016, but a federal judge denied its request, resulting in President Donald Trump inheriting the case.
The Ninth Circuit court issued its stay on July 25, giving it time to consider a petition filed by the Justice Department in June for a writ of mandamus allowing higher courts to review and overturn lower court decisions before they have even held a trial. The Trump administration is asking the court to intervene, review, and overturn a decision made by a federal judge last year to allow the climate lawsuit to go to trial.
Beginning of the End?
Chris Horner, a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, says the Ninth Circuit’s ruling could signal an end to the lawsuit.
“It’s entirely possible the panel’s ruling suggests that the end is near for this bizarre matter,” said Horner. “Of course, it’s possible the circus will continue a little while longer, continuing to chew through taxpayer resources to knock off what has to be seen as something of a desperation lawsuit.