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Supreme Court Puts Historic Youth Climate Lawsuit on Hold
The U.S. Supreme Court put a landmark climate case on pause Friday while it considers a last-ditch attempt by the Trump administration to stop it from proceeding to trial, Climate Liability News reported.
Juliana v. United States is a historic lawsuit brought by 21 young people against the U.S. government, arguing that it has violated their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by enacting policies that encourage climate change. It was filed during the Obama administration and has so far survived attempts by both administrations to toss it. But that was before Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to the Supreme Court.
The Trump administration is asking for something called a "writ of mandamus," an unusual type of appeal in which a higher court overturns a lower court before a verdict has even been reached. The administration had asked both the Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stop Juliana v. United States using this mechanism various times. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused twice, and the Supreme Court already refused once in July.
Julia Olsen, co-lead counsel for the case and executive director of Our Children's Trust, the non-profit supporting the young plaintiffs, remained confident the Supreme Court would ultimately make the same decision it did this summer.
"We are confident once Chief Justice Roberts and the full Court receive the youth plaintiffs' response to defendants' mischaracterization of their case, the trial will proceed," Olsen said via Our Children's Trust's Twitter feed. "As the Supreme Court has recognized in innumerable cases, review of constitutional questions is better done on a full record where the evidence is presented and weighed by the trier of fact. This case is about already recognized fundamental rights and children's rights of equal protection under the law."
Of course, between July and now, Justice Anthony Kennedy has retired and Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed to take his place. 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.
The Supreme Court has now asked the young plaintiffs to respond to the government's appeal by Wednesday, Oct. 24. The trial was originally set to begin in Eugene, Oregon on Oct. 29.
- No Ordinary Lawsuit ›
- Newest youth climate lawsuit targets Washington State ›
- 'Disgraceful and Enraging': Supreme Court Halts Youth Climate ... ›
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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."