Quantcast

Judge to Trump: Appeal 'Would Put Cart Before the Horse'

Popular
@YouthGov

U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin emphatically recommended Monday denial of Trump administration and fossil fuel industry defendants' motions seeking to derail the "youthvgov" climate case from trial with a rare early appeal. Such early appeals are "hen's-teeth rare," noted Judge Coffin.


Further, Judge Coffin denied the Trump administration's motion, supported by the fossil fuel industry, to put the trial on hold pending the outcome of the early appeal attempt. Youths' attorneys argued that any delay in getting to trial would irreversibly prejudice the youth in securing and protecting their fundamental constitutional rights.

From Judge Coffin's findings and recommendation:

"The court may make findings that define the contours of plaintiffs' constitutional rights to life and a habitable atmosphere and climate, declare the levels of atmospheric CO2 which will violate their rights, determine whether certain government actions in the past and now have and are contributing to or causing the constitutional harm to plaintiffs, and direct the federal defendants to prepare and implement a national plan which would stabilize the climate system and remedy the violation of plaintiffs rights.

"... [U.S. government] defendants and Intervenors ... underestimate the nature of the danger allegedly created by their actions. The taking of evidence will flesh out those critical issues. The current posture of the case is such that any appeal would be premature."

In his conclusion, Judge Coffin wrote that the hypothetical questions the Trump administration and fossil fuel industry defendants wish to present to the appellate court "would put the cart before the horse, and thus fail to satisfy the standards for interlocutory appeal."

"It's time for the defendants to accept they are going to trial and not try to continue bending the rule of law to delay a judgment in this case," Julia Olson, plaintiffs' counsel and Our Children's Trust's executive director, said. "President Trump must accept that the courts do not do his bidding, and in a court of law, 'alternative facts' are considered perjury."

In March, the Trump administration and fossil fuel defendants requested that the federal district court in Oregon allow the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals the opportunity to review Judge Ann Aiken's Nov. 10, 2016 order before the trial even takes place. The defendants had also requested that appeal be expedited, and that the trial be put on hold if the appeal was granted. Judge Coffin recommended that all of those requests be denied.

Procedurally, the Trump administration and fossil fuel industry defendants' have until May 15 to file specific written objections with the court to Judge Coffin's recommendations. Thereafter, youth's attorneys will have 14 days from when those objections are filed to respond to them. Per federal rules of procedure, Judge Aiken, informed by Magistrate Judge Coffin's recommendation, holds the power to decide whether the Ninth Circuit has an opportunity to grant the defendants' requests for an interlocutory appeal of her November decision.

Scholars agree that defendants have little chance to obtain their rare appeal especially in light of the Magistrate Judge's opinion.

"This is a well-reasoned opinion and it will now go to Judge Aiken for approval," Prof. Mary Wood, from the University of Oregon School of Law, said. "There's really nothing more for the Trump administration and fossil fuel defendants to argue at this point. They should just get ready for trial."

In spite of defendants' desperate attempts to delay a historic climate trial, youth plaintiffs and their lawyers continue to prepare for it.

Juliana v. United States was brought by 21 young plaintiffs who argue that their constitutional and public trust rights are being violated by the government's creation of climate danger. The case is one of many related legal actions brought by youth in several states and countries, all supported by Our Children's Trust, seeking science-based action by governments to stabilize the climate system.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An American flag waves in the wind at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, California on May 17 where a trial against Monsanto took place. Alva and Alberta Pilliod, were awarded more than $2 billion in damages in their lawsuit against Monsanto, though the judge in the case lowered the damage award to $87 million. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

By Carey Gillam

For the last five years, Chris Stevick has helped his wife Elaine in her battle against a vicious type of cancer that the couple believes was caused by Elaine's repeated use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide around a California property the couple owned. Now the roles are reversed as Elaine must help Chris face his own cancer.

Read More Show Less
Butterfly habitats have fallen 77 percent in the last 50 years. Pixabay / Pexels

The last 50 years have been brutal for wildlife. Animals have lost their habitats and seen their numbers plummet. Now a new report from a British conservation group warns that habitat destruction and increased pesticide use has on a trajectory for an "insect apocalypse," which will have dire consequences for humans and all life on Earth, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Six of the nineteen wind turbines which were installed on Frodsham Marsh, near the coal-powered Fiddler's Ferry power station, in Helsby, England on Feb. 7, 2017.

Sales of electric cars are surging and the world is generating more and more power from renewable sources, but it is not enough to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to stop the global climate crisis, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Read More Show Less
"Globally, we're starting to see examples of retailers moving away from plastics and throwaway packaging, but not at the urgency and scale needed to address this crisis." Greenpeace

By Jake Johnson

A Greenpeace report released Tuesday uses a hypothetical "Smart Supermarket" that has done away with environmentally damaging single-use plastics to outline a possible future in which the world's oceans and communities are free of bags, bottles, packaging and other harmful plastic pollutants.

Read More Show Less
Children are forced to wear masks due to the toxic smoke from peat land fires in Indonesia. Aulia Erlangga / CIFOR

By Irene Banos Ruiz

Pediatricians in New Delhi, India, say children's lungs are no longer pink, but black.

Our warming planet is already impacting the health of the world's children and will shape the future of an entire generation if we fail to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6°F), the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report on health and climate change shows.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Private homes surround a 20 inch gas liquids pipeline which is part of the Mariner East II project on Oct. 5, 2017 in Marchwood, Penn. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

The FBI is looking into how the state of Pennsylvania granted permits for a controversial natural gas pipeline as part of a corruption investigation, the AP reports.

Read More Show Less
Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles. Carolina Wild Ones / Facebook

Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
The Dakota Access pipeline being built in Iowa. Carl Wycoff / CC BY 2.0

The fight between the Standing Rock Sioux and the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline is back on, as the tribe opposes a pipeline expansion that it argues would increase the risk of an oil spill.

Read More Show Less