Supreme Court allows climate change lawsuit to move forward

Supreme Court allows climate change lawsuit to move forward

By Geoff West   
Published
The U.S. Supreme Court (Photo courtesy of Architect of the Capitol)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Friday the Trump administration’s request to intervene in a high-profile climate change lawsuit in Oregon.

Last month, Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily postponed the scheduled Nov. 5 trial following an appeal from the Justice Department, which had asked the high court to review a lower court’s ruling that allowed the case to move forward. The temporary stay was intended to give the plaintiffs an opportunity to respond to specific issues raised by the government.

A majority of the justices decided against intervening in the lawsuit, however, after reviewing the response. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch would have blocked it. A new trial date has not been set.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of young activists is seeking a court order that would require the government to develop a national climate policy aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions, halting fossil fuel production and creating a “climate system capable of sustaining human life.”

The plaintiffs allege the government knew for decades that carbon emissions were endangering the planet yet continued to allow the production of fossil fuels, creating and worsening the effects of climate change for future generations. The plaintiffs contend the actions violated their constitutional right to life, liberty and property.

The government has tried repeatedly to dismiss the case, arguing that U.S. environmental policies should be decided through the political process, not legislated from the bench.

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