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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!
- Supreme Court Lets Youths' Case Demanding Climate Action Proceed ›
- Supreme Court refuses to block young people's climate lawsuit ... ›
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."