Mad Science and even Madder Law: Federal judge sides with young plaintiffs.
Once upon a time, soccer and piano lessons were the preferred extra-curricular options for teens.
Now social justice warfare may be the thrilling, new, after-school activity. A group of American kids are suing the federal government demanding “climate action.”
“We are standing here to fight and protect everything that we love—from our land to our waters to the mountains to the rivers and forests,” Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, a 16-year-old plaintiff in the case told supporters after a hearing in Eugene, Ore. this fall. “This is the moment where we decide what kind of legacy we are going to leave behind for future generations.”
The case rests on the legal argument that climate change threatens the plaintiffs’ fundamental constitutional right to life and liberty. Julia Olson, a lawyer for the plaintiffs and executive director of Our Children’s Trust, argued in court that the federal government has understood the threat of climate change for decades and knowingly put the lives of future generations in danger. The current measures in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient and not aligned with current science, she argued.
The kids just got a big boost from an Oregon judge, who denied motions by the federal government and trade groups representing energy companies to dismiss the lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken issued a strongly worded, 54-page ruling to explain why she refused to dismiss the lawsuit at the request of the federal government and trade groups representing many of the world’s largest energy companies.
“Federal courts too often have been cautious and overly deferential in the arena of environmental law, and the world has suffered for it,” Aiken wrote.
Aiken’s decision in the potential landmark case provided a glimmer of hope to the 21 youth plaintiffs, all of whom are between the ages of 9 and 20. They allege that the federal government’s actions during the past several decades have put their and future generations in danger, in violation of their constitutional and public trust rights. They’re seeking a court order that requires the government to drastically and quickly reduce carbon emissions that many scientists say contribute to climate change.
The arguments the teens and pre-teens are making are a fascinating blend of the latest scare stories, naturally occurring events, climate change buzz words, and Constitutional contortions.
Lead plaintiff Kelsey Juliana, who lives in Oregon, alleges that algae blooms harm the water she needs to drink and that low water levels caused by drought kill the wild salmon she needs to eat. Martinez, who lives in Colorado, alleges increased wildfires and extreme flooding jeopardize his personal safety.
Other plaintiffs are from farming families, suffer from asthma, and have had their homes overrun by raw sewage during the recent floods in Louisiana. The suit claims that by failing to protect these children from human-caused climate-related harm, the government violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
One of the benefits of the Trump Administration is that future courts may be forced to address real science at some point. Eric Holthaus of Slate asked legal experts what would likely happen next:
Of course, the suit will not have an immediate effect on policy. The trial and appeals process could take years, even in the best-case scenario. Another climate law expert I spoke with, Michael Blumm at Lewis and Clark Law School, said he expected lawyers for the Trump administration to attempt to drag the process out as long as possible.
Perhaps the most troubling part of this story that instead of enjoying a sport or learning an instrument, children are being exposed to climate alarmism that will have a more immediate and harmful effect on the quality of their lives than carbon dioxide.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.