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Posted on: Dec 15, 2017

Ninth Circuit Hears Appeal on Historic Climate Change Lawsuit Brought by Children

By Benjamin A. Wolowski, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently heard oral arguments in a case involving an attempt by 21 children to sue the United States government over climate change. The children, ranging from ages 10 to 21, contend that the government’s actions toward climate change have violated their generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, and have failed to protect important public resources.

The case, Juliana v. United States, No. 6:15-cv-01517-TC, has been pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon since 2015. The District Court denied motions to dismiss from the government, and the case was slated for a February 2018 trial. However, the government filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Ninth Circuit in July 2017.

Oral argument was heard on December 11, 2017, before Chief Judge Sidney Thomas, and Circuit Justices Alex Kozinski and Marsha Barzon. During the argument, Chief Judge Thomas expressed concern that the Court of Appeals would be “absolutely flooded with appeals” if it sided with the government in this action. Both sides now await a ruling as to whether the children’s case can proceed to trial.
For more information about the recent oral argument, go here. To learn more about the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, go here.

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