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This Supreme Court Decision Is the Best News of the Weekend
It was a good weekend for justice in America, which isn't something we get to say very often these days. That's because Friday afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court kicked it off with a hopeful decision: The Trump administration can't stop the historic youth climate lawsuit Juliana v. United States from going to trial.
Our Children's Trust, the organization supporting the young people behind the case, summed up the mood with a tweet featuring a quote from 22-year-old plaintiff Kelsey Juliana: "Stay with us, in hope and in the pursuit of justice."
The lawsuit was first filed back in 2015 on behalf of 21 young people who argue that their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property have been violated by the government's scandalous inaction on climate change. In a year of historic wildfires and hurricanes, it's pretty easy to see where they're coming from. It's also easy to see their argument had first the Obama administration and now the Trump administration spooked. Both administrations tried multiple times to stop the case from going to trial.
"We've been confident throughout this case that we would get to trial, and I believe we will get to trial," Our Children's Trust executive director and attorney in the case Julia Olson told The Washington Post. "We have overcome everything the government has thrown at us. It is not luck. It is the strength of the case and the strength of the evidence and the strength of the legal arguments we are making."
This most recent attempt by the Trump administration to block the case was a nail-biter, though, because the Supreme Court actually delayed the start of the trial, which had been set for Oct. 29, while they considered it.
This was alarming because the Supreme Court had rejected a similar bid by the administration to block the case in July. But between July and October one important thing had changed. Justice Anthony Roberts had retired and Justice Brett Kavanaugh had taken his place.
EcoWatch explained at the time why this was troubling:
Kennedy was a swing voter on environmental issues who sometimes ruled in favor of increased regulations despite his conservative credentials. Kavanaugh's record is much more consistently anti-regulation when it comes to environmental cases. He also lied during the confirmation hearings, presenting his past rulings as more environmentally friendly than others familiar with the cases said they were. After Kennedy announced his retirement, Harvard law professor Richard Lazarus worried a more conservative court might make it harder for private citizens to sue the government over climate change.
But for now it is unknown how Kavanaugh's presence on the court impacted its decision to let the case proceed. Justice Clarence Thomas and Trump's other appointee Justice Neil M. Gorsuch said they would have sided with the administration and blocked the case, but the others kept mum on how they voted.
The Supreme Court isn't necessarily gung-ho about the legal arguments made in Juliana v. United States. It acknowledged that the case was "based on an assortment of unprecedented legal theories," but ultimately ruled that government should seek relief from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit first.
However, in good news for the young plaintiffs, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also denied the administration's attempt to stop the case on Friday. The plaintiffs immediately filed a request in the District Courts to begin the process of getting the trial back on schedule, and hopefully they will get their day in court soon.
In a full quote from the Our Children's Trust press release, Kelsey Juliana expressed both the frustration and worry caused by the constant delays, as well as the admirable persistence she and the other plaintiffs demonstrate as the fight for a better future for all of us:
Today we move forward. I want to trust that we are truly on track for trial without having further delays, but these defendants are treating this case, our democracy, and the security of mine and future generations like it's a game. I'm tired of playing this game. These petitions for stay and dismissal are exhausting. To everyone who has invested in this case, to those who've followed along our journey for the past three years and counting: stay with us, in hope and in the pursuit of justice.
Fight on, Kelsey! We'll stay with you!
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Wolves and Jaguars Are Already Threatened by Border Razor Wire As Trump Vetoes Bid to Block Emergency Wall Funding
President Donald Trump issued the first veto of his presidency Friday, overturning Congress' vote to block his national emergency declaration to fund a border wall that environmental advocates say would put 93 endangered species at risk. However, the president's decision came the same day as an in-depth report from UPI revealing how razor wire placed at the border in the last four months already threatens wildlife.
Yet another whale has died after ingesting plastic bags. A young male Cuvier's beaked whale was found washed up in Mabini, Compostela Valley in the Philippines Friday, CNN reported. When scientists from the D' Bone Collector Museum in Davao investigated the dead whale, they found it had died of "dehydration and starvation" after swallowing plastic bags―40 kilograms (approximately 88 pounds) worth of them!
By Joe Sandler Clarke
"Don't expect us to continue buying European products," Malaysia's former plantations minister Mah Siew Keong told reporters in January last year. His comments came just after he had accused the EU of "practising a form of crop apartheid."
A few months later Luhut Pandjaitan, an Indonesian government minister close to President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo, warned his country would retaliate if it was "cornered" by the EU.
By Luis Torres
For some people who live along the U.S.-Mexico border, President Trump's attempt to declare a national emergency and extend the border wall is worse than a wasteful, unconstitutional stunt. It's an attack on their way of life that threatens to desecrate their loved ones' graves.
At least 150 people have died in a cyclone that devastated parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi over the weekend, The Associated Press reported Sunday. Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people since it hit Mozambique's port city of Beira late Thursday, then traveled west to Zimbabwe and Malawi. Hundreds are still missing and tens of thousands are without access to roads or telephones.
"I think this is the biggest natural disaster Mozambique has ever faced. Everything is destroyed. Our priority now is to save human lives," Mozambique's Environment Minister Celso Correia said, as AFP reported.