Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

'Where Is the Hope?' After Juliana v. U.S. Lawsuit Gets Tossed by Federal Court

Politics
Protesters attend a rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court held by the group Our Children's Trust Oct. 29, 2018 in Washington, DC. The group and the plaintiffs have vowed to keep fighting and to ask the full Ninth Circuit to review Friday's decision to toss the lawsuit. Win McNamee / Getty Images

An appeals court tossed out the landmark youth climate lawsuit Juliana v. United States Friday, arguing that the courts are not the place to resolve the climate crisis.


The three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the 21 young plaintiffs that the U.S. government had actively contributed to climate change by supporting a fossil-fuel based economy and that the young people had been injured by its actions, The Guardian explained. However, the majority ruled that the courts did not have the power to order a plan for government action to address the crisis, as the 12-to-23-year-old plaintiffs had requested.

"Reluctantly, we conclude that such relief is beyond our constitutional power," Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz wrote in the court's opinion. "Rather, the plaintiffs' impressive case for redress must be presented to the political branches of government."

The decision raises the question of where young people can turn to ensure their futures are protected.

"The idea that their only recourse is to go to the very branches of government that are violating their rights when half of them can't even vote is a preposterous notion," the young people's lead lawyer Julia Olson told The New York Times.

In her dissent, Judge Josephine L. Staton agreed, criticizing her colleagues for "throw[ing] up their hands."

"Where is the hope in today's decision?" she wrote. "Plaintiffs' claims are based on science, specifically, an impending point of no return. If plaintiffs' fears, backed by the government's own studies, prove true, history will not judge us kindly. When the seas envelop our coastal cities, fires and droughts haunt our interiors, and storms ravage everything between, those remaining will ask: Why did so many do so little?"

The lawsuit was filed in 2015 by the 21 plaintiffs with the support of the nonprofit Our Children's Trust, according to Climate Liability News. It argues that by supporting a fossil-fuel based economy despite evidence it was contributing to climate change, the federal government violated the public trust and the young plaintiffs' constitutional rights to life, liberty and property.

For example, plaintiff Levi Draheim, 12, has had to repeatedly evacuate his home in Satellite Beach, Florida because of more extreme storms, according to The Guardian. Jaime Butler, 19, has been separated from her home and relatives in Navajo Nation because of water insecurity.

The federal government has tried to dismiss the case several times since it was filed, according to Climate Liability News. And Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark told The New York Times that the government was "pleased with the outcome" of Friday's decision.

However, Our Children's Trust and the plaintiffs have vowed to keep fighting and to ask the full Ninth Circuit to review the decision, the group announced in a press release.

"We will continue this case because only the courts can help us," Draheim said. "We brought this lawsuit to secure our liberties and protect our lives and our homes. Much like the civil rights cases, we firmly believe the courts can vindicate our constitutional rights and we will not stop until we get a decision that says so."

If the full Ninth Circle refuses to hear the case, the group would then have to appeal to the Supreme Court, Climate Liability News explained.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Daniel Yetman

Bleach and vinegar are common household cleaners used to disinfect surfaces, cut through grime, and get rid of stains. Even though many people have both these cleaners in their homes, mixing them together is potentially dangerous and should be avoided.

Read More Show Less
During a protest action on May 30 in North Rhine-Westphalia, Datteln in front of the site of the Datteln 4 coal-fired power plant, Greenpeace activists projected the lettering: "Climate crisis - Made in Germany" onto the cooling tower. Guido Kirchner / picture alliance / Getty Images

Around 500 climate activists on Saturday gathered outside the new Datteln 4 coal power plant in Germany's Ruhr region, to protest against its opening.

Read More Show Less
Dr. Mark Brunswick (2R), Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Quality, walks through the lab at Sorrento Therapeutics in San Diego, California on May 22. ARIANA DREHSLER / AFP / Getty Images

By Julia Ries

Around the world, there have been several cases of people recovering from COVID-19 only to later test positive again and appear to have another infection.

Read More Show Less

By Samantha Hepburn

In the expansion of its iron ore mine in Western Pilbara, Rio Tinto blasted the Juukan Gorge 1 and 2 — Aboriginal rock shelters dating back 46,000 years. These sites had deep historical and cultural significance.

Read More Show Less
Meadow Lake wind farm in Indiana. Anthony / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Tara Lohan

The first official tallies are in: Coronavirus-related shutdowns helped slash daily global emissions of carbon dioxide by 14 percent in April. But the drop won't last, and experts estimate that annual emissions of the greenhouse gas are likely to fall only about 7 percent this year.

Read More Show Less
Andrey Nikitin / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Adrienne Santos-Longhurst

Plants are awesome. They brighten up your space and give you a living thing you can talk to when there are no humans in sight.

Turns out, having enough of the right plants can also add moisture (aka humidify) indoor air, which can have a ton of health benefits.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A bald eagle chick inside a nest in Rutland, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
A bald eagle nest with eggs has been discovered in Cape Cod for the first time in 115 years, according to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (Mass Wildlife), as Newsweek reported.
Read More Show Less