We filed our constitutional climate lawsuit, called Juliana v. U.S., against the U.S. government in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in 2015.
Our complaint asserts that, through the government's affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.
The fossil fuel industry initially intervened in the case as defendants, joining the U.S. government in trying to have the case dismissed. In April 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin recommended denial of both of motions to dismiss. U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken upheld Judge Coffin's recommendation, with the issuance of an historic November 10, 2016 opinion and order denying the motions. When the defendants sought an interlocutory appeal of that order, Judge Aiken denied their motions in June 2017.
In June 2017, Judge Coffin issued an order releasing the fossil fuel industry defendants from the case, and setting a trial date for February 5, 2018 before Judge Aiken at the U.S. District Court of Oregon in Eugene.
In July 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals requested that our attorneys submit a response to the government's petition for "writ of mandamus" and invited the District Court to respond as well. The District Court responded via letter and we filed our answer. Further, eight amicus briefs were filed with the Ninth Circuit in support of our case.
Pursuant to its order, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit, made up of Chief Justice Sidney Thomas, and Circuit Justices Alex Kozinski and Marsha Barzon heard oral arguments on December 11, 2017. Youth plaintiffs, now age 10 to 21, and our attorneys look forward to the panel decision. Eric Grant, representing the Trump administration and the U.S. government, argued that the case be dismissed. Justice Kozinski subsequently resigned and was replaced on the panel by Circuit Justice Michelle Friedland.
Due to the Trump administration’s drastic tactics before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to silence the voices of youth and keep science out of the courtroom, the trial will not begin on February 5th, as originally scheduled. We are optimistic that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will soon rule in favor of the youth and lift the stay. As soon as we are back in the District Court, we will promptly ask the District Court to set a new trial date.