Summary: The Trump administration was unsuccessful at stopping an environmental lawsuit filed by mostly teenagers.
President Donald Trump and his administration have been trying to keep a climate change lawsuit out of appeals court in San Francisco. On Wednesday, a group of teenagers managed to fight the White House to get the case to go to trial, according to Bloomberg.
The publication stated that 21 young adults from Oregon filed a complaint in 2015 that said government policies exacerbated climate change and that global warming violated their rights. President Barack Obama’s administration had tried to dismiss the case in 2016, but they had failed. When Trump took office, his White House had also sought to end the suit, but the teenagers prevailed.
“We need a constitutionally compliant energy system that doesn’t destroy these people’s lives — and the court can order that,” Julia Olson, the plaintiffs’ attorney, told Vice.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco decided on Wednesday to allow the case to move to trial.
The young plaintiffs argued that government policies that hurt the environment violated the U.S. Constitution. They said that for 50 years the government promoted the use of fossil fuels, which accounted for 25% of the world’s carbon emissions. They are seeking a formal change of course when it comes to regulations.
The Department of Justice is expected to ask the Supreme Court to drop the case. The Trump administration said that it is based on “utterly unprecedented legal theories” and it is unreasonable to use research that was conducted as far back as the Lyndon Johnson presidency.
The government said that the policies in the lawsuit are matters for Congress and the President, and they added that the judge in Eugene, Oregon who had allowed the case to move forward in November 2016 had overstepped her bounds.
On Wednesday, the three-judge panel of the court of appeals said that this case should be settled through trial.
“We are mindful that some of the plaintiffs’ claims as currently pleaded are quite broad, and some of the remedies the plaintiffs seek may not be available as redress,” Judge Sidney Thomas wrote in the decision. “However, the district court needs to consider those issues further in the first instance.”
If the Supreme Court allows this case to move forward, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken will decide what government officials will provide depositions. Olson said that the plaintiffs are seeking a trial for 2018.
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