Friday, March 17, 2017

Kids Climate Change Lawsuit Scores Victory In Court

The Trump administration really doesn’t want this climate lawsuit to go to trial

Plaintiffs in the case scored a major victory in November, when U.S. Federal Judge Ann Aiken found the group’s complaints to be valid. A major hurdle for the case was the political question doctrine, which holds that some issues cannot be heard by courts because they are under the jurisdiction of political branches of government. But Aiken found that the political question doctrine should not prevent the case from moving to trial, writing in her decision that “at its heart, this lawsuit asks this Court to determine whether defendants have violated plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. That question is squarely within the purview of the judiciary.”
If the case goes to trial, it will be the first to argue the federal government has violated the Constitution in its actions regarding climate change. If successful, it would likely compel the government to take action on the issue ...
The lawsuit, brought by a group of 21 children and young adults against the federal government, alleges that the United States government has violated the plaintiff’s constitutional right to a healthy environment. The lawsuit is based on the old legal doctrine of public trust, which holds that it is the government’s responsibility to preserve certain natural resources for public use. Under the public trust doctrine, the children’s attorneys argue, the government must protect the commonly held atmosphere — and is failing to do so by taking inadequate action to fight climate change.