Quantcast
Popular
Our Children's Trust

Trump Administration Seeks 'Drastic Remedy' to Derail Kids Climate Lawsuit

The Trump administration filed a writ of mandamus petition with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Friday, seeking an extraordinarily rare review of a Nov. 10, 2016 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken to deny its motion to dismiss Juliana v. United States. Further, the Trump administration is seeking "a stay of proceedings in the district court" while the Ninth Circuit considers its petition.


The Trump administration argues the Ninth Circuit should "exercise its supervisory mandamus powers to end this clearly improper attempt to have the judiciary decide important questions of energy and environmental policy to the exclusion of the elected branches of government."

The U.S. Constitution provides for three separate but equal branches of government, with no exception for energy and environmental policy.

Douglas A. Kysar, the Joseph M. Field '55 Professor of Law at Yale Law School who is not connected with the litigation, but recently co-authored Courting Disaster: Climate Change and the Adjudication of Catastrophe, said:

"Writs of mandamus are reserved for the most extraordinary and compelling situations in which ordinary rules of appellate procedure must be overridden to avoid a manifest injustice. For the Trump Justice Department to even seek a writ of mandamus in the current context is offensive to Judge Aiken, to the entire federal judiciary, and, indeed, to the rule of law itself. The writ should not be granted and we should all question why the Trump administration's lawyers are willing to try such a trick rather than forthrightly defend the case.

"When the Framers divided power within the government, they did it so that the branches could not only check and balance each other, but also poke and prod when necessary. The Juliana litigation is a powerful poke and prod to the entire federal government on the question of climate responsibility. In that sense, Juliana might well be the most important lawsuit on the planet right now and the government knows it. That's why Trump's lawyers are so desperate to avoid an honest fight."

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the Supreme Court's majority in Cheney v. U.S., explained in 2004 that mandamus is a "drastic and extraordinary remedy" reserved for "only exceptional circumstances."

This Trump administration's filing comes just one day after Judge Aiken shut down another rare path to Ninth Circuit review, with an order denying the U.S. government and fossil fuel industry's motions seeking an interlocutory appeal.

"The U.S. Government is running from some of its youngest constituents, and all we're asking for is a plan to preserve our future," said Victoria Barrett, 18, of White Plains, New York, one of 21 youth plaintiffs.

"The U.S. government is trying to use every possible tool they can to avoid trial," Julia Olson, co-lead counsel for plaintiffs and executive director of Our Children's Trust, said. "Because they know applying the law to the facts and science in this case will mean certain defeat for them at trial. If the Trump administration was at all confident it could defend itself at trial, it would be preparing for trial."

Last month, motions were filed by three fossil fuel industry intervenor-defendants: the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel & and Petrochemical Manufacturers requesting the court's permission to withdraw from the litigation. For any defendant to leave the litigation, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin must grant permission. That matter is still pending.

"By this writ, the Trump administration insists the federal government can continue to support the fossil fuel system and inflict harm on our children and grandchildren," Phil Gregory, co-lead counsel for plaintiffs and partner with Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP in Burlingame, CA, said. "We believe the Court of Appeals will affirm that our Constitution specifically protects our Nation's Posterity. As Judge Aiken wrote, 'the judiciary must not shrink from its role as a coequal branch of government.'"

An in-court case management conference, open to the public, is set for 10 a.m. PST on June 14 at the Wayne L. Morse U.S. Courthouse in Eugene, Oregon.

Juliana v. United States was brought by 21 young plaintiffs, and Earth Guardians, 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.

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
The two young Iowa vandals knocked over 50 hives and exposed the bees to deadly winter temperatures. Colby Stopa / Flickr

Two Boys Charged With Killing Half a Million Honeybees in Iowa

Two boys were charged with killing more than a half million bees at a honey business in Iowa last month.

"All of the beehives on the honey farm were destroyed and approximately 500,000 bees perished in the frigid temperatures," Sioux City police said in a release.

Keep reading... Show less

Are Microwaves Really as Bad for the Environment as Cars?

According to many headlines blared around the Internet this week, "microwaves are as damaging to the environment as cars." But this misleading information, based on a new study from the University of Manchester, hopefully doesn't make you feel guilty about zapping your next Hot Pocket.

The research, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, found that microwave ovens across the European Union generate as much carbon dioxide as nearly 7 million cars and consume an estimated 9.4 terawatts per hour of electricity per year. Okay, that sounds like a lot. But also consider that there are about 130 million microwaves in Europe and some 291 million vehicles on its roads.

Keep reading... Show less

Monsanto's Roundup Destroys Healthy Microbes in Humans and in Soils

By Julie Wilson

We're only beginning to learn the importance of healthy gut bacteria to our overall health—and the relationship between healthy soil and the human microbiome.

We know that the human microbiome, often referred to as our "second brain," plays a key role in our health, from helping us digest the food we eat, to boosting our brain function and regulating our immune systems.

Keep reading... Show less
Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke refused to meet with National Park System Advisory Board members last year, prompting most of them to quit. Gage Skidmore / Flickr

From National Parks to the EPA, Trump Administration Stiff-Arms Science Advisers

By Elliott Negin

The Trump administration's testy relationship with science reminds me of that old saying: Advice is least heeded when most needed.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Health
Shutterstock

8 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals

By Caroline Cox

What keeps you up at night? Sick kids, restless pets, the latest tragedy on the evening news, politics, wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, money troubles, job stress, and family health and wellbeing? There is no shortage of concerns that make us all toss and turn.

But what keeps the chemical industry up at night? A couple of decades ago a senior Shell executive was asked this very question. The answer? Endocrine disruption.

Keep reading... Show less
Dave Atkinson / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Why We'll March Again

This Sunday marks the first anniversary of the Women's March that happened on the day after Donald Trump's inauguration—the largest protest march in our nation's history. The Sierra Club was there that day, and we'll be there this year, too—at a significant moment for women's rights and justice.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Nils Axel-Morner gives an interview on the fringe of a meeting in Rome in October 2017. YouTube

Climate Denial Group Linked to Trump Admin Is Funding 'Research' on Sea Levels in Questionable Journals

By Graham Readfearn

A climate science denial group with links to President Trump's administration has been funding work to sow doubt that low-lying islands in the Pacific are at risk from rising sea levels.

The two researchers being funded—one of which is a well-known climate science denier—have targeted little known "open access" journals with dubious quality controls to get their work published, DeSmog has found.

Keep reading... Show less

It's Official: 2017 Was the Hottest Year Without an El Niño

The United Nations announced Thursday that 2017 was the hottest year on record without an El Niño event kicking up global annual temperatures.

Last year's average surface temperatures—driven by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions—was 1.1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial times, putting the world on course to breach the internationally agreed "1.5°C" temperature barrier to avoid dangerous climate change set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!