Ninth Circuit Turns Back DOJ's Request to Knock Out Climate Change Lawsuit

Casey Dawson
March 10, 2018

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene, Oregon in November 2016 refused to dismiss the lawsuit, saying a quick dismissal without addressing the merits could sanction the government's alleged "knowing decision to poison the air".

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday denied the DOJ's petition for a writ of mandamus, finding the request to knock out the lawsuit was "entirely premature".

The lawsuit filed by 21 young people claims the government is endangering their future.

According to the kids, the government has known for decades its policies have created an imminent environmental catastrophe, through inaction on climate change and federal subsidies and contracts with oil companies.

"It will be the first time that climate science and the federal government's role in creating its dangers will go on trial in a US court".

A trial was scheduled to begin February 5, which would have put the Trump administration in the awkward position of defending an answer filed by Obama-era US attorneys that painted a devastatingly bleak environmental future and acknowledged the government has known for decades that it was making the situation worse.

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After Robb later learned that she was the subject of the quickly circulating post, she responded , "Wait". Sophia told Teen Vogue that her orthodontist was able to glue it back together.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The plaintiffs just won a victory: the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the case can indeed move towards a trial, Bloomberg reported. The Government sought mandamus relief in the Ninth Circuit, "anticipating burdensome discovery", and a stay of this litigation.

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion in In re United States of America. (One of the judges presiding at the hearing, Alex Kozinski, has since retired amid allegations of harassment; he was replaced randomly by Judge Michelle T. Friedland).

Juliana v. U.S. was originally filed in 2015, in the U.S. District Court in OR against the U.S.A., President Barack Obama, and a litany of named federal agencies. "If appellate review could be invoked whenever a district court denied a motion to dismiss, we would be quickly overwhelmed with such requests, and the resolution of cases would be unnecessarily delayed".

Julia Olson, who represented the plaintiffs and is executive director of Our Children's Trust, which advocates for improving the climate, in an interview welcomed the decision. The lower-court case is Juliana v. U.S.A., 15-cv-01517, U.S. District Court, District of Oregon (Eugene).

Julia Olson, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement that the group will seek a trial date for later this year, "where we will put the federal government's risky energy system and climate policies on trial".

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