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Trial of Kids Climate Change Lawsuit indefinitely postponed

Trial of Kids Climate Change Lawsuit indefinitely postponed

District Court reverses itself, grants the government an immediate “interlocutory” appeal to the 9th Circuit, putting the trial on hold indefinitely, in a case likely to end up in Supreme Court.

The so-called Kids Climate Change Lawsuit seeks to hold the U.S. government liable for climate change and to compel remedial action. Seriously.

It’s a ludicrous lawsuit that was supposed to go to trial in late October 2018, after surviving a motion to dismiss.

Here’s how the district court described the claims in refusing to dismiss the case:

Plaintiffs in this civil rights action are a group of young people between the ages of eight and nineteen (“youth plaintiffs”); Earth Guardians, an association of young environmental activists; and Dr. James Hansen, acting as guardian for future generations.2 Plaintiffs filed this action against defendants the United States, President Barack Obama, and numerous executive agencies. Plaintiffs allege defendants have known for more than fifty years that the carbon dioxide (“CO;’) produced by burning fossil fuels was destabilizing the climate system in a way that would “significantly endanger plaintiffs, with the damage persisting for millenia.” First. Am. Comp. ¶1. Despite that knowledge, plaintiffs assert defendants, “[b ]y their exercise of sovereign authority over our country’ s atmosphere and fossil fuel resources, … permitted, encouraged, and otherwise enabled continued exploitation, production, and combustion of fossil fuels, … deliberately allow[ing] atmospheric C02 concentrations to escalate to levels unprecedented in human history[.]” Id ¶5. Although many different entities contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, plaintiffs aver defendants bear “a higher degree of responsibility than any other individual, entity, or country” for exposing plaintiffs to the dangers of climate change. Id. ¶7. Plaintiffs argue defendants’ actions violate their substantive due process rights to life, liberty, and property, and that defendants have violated their obligation to hold certain natural resources in trust for the people and for future generations.

Plaintiffs assert there is a very short window in which defendants could act to phase out fossil fuel exploitation and avert environmental catastrophe. They seek (1) a declaration their constitutional and public trust rights have been violated and (2) an order enjoining defendants from violating those rights and directing defendants to develop a plan to reduce C02 emissions.

NBC News reported on October 15, 2018 on the pending trial:

A lawyer for a group of young Americans suing the federal government over climate change said a judge’s decision Monday to allow the suit to move forward should clear the way for a trial to begin on Oct. 29.

The suit, which was brought by 21 children and young adults, accuses federal officials and oil industry executives of violating their due process rights by knowing for decades that carbon pollution poisons the environment, but doing nothing about it.

“When the climate science is brought into the courtroom it will result in the judge finding that the government is committing constitutional violations,” said the lawyer for the kids, Phil Gregory.

In a statement, a Justice Department spokesman said the government is reviewing Monday’s decision from U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene, Oregon.

Aiken also ruled that the suit could proceed without President Donald Trump specifically named in it — a move Gregory said the young people had already agreed to.

“The law is unclear on whether and to what extent a court can issue an order to a sitting president,” Gregory said, adding that the ruling still allows the group to sue department leaders within the Trump Administration.

“These agencies are actively infringing on constitutional rights and the judge can issue an order stopping them without including the president,” he said.

There were attempts by the government to halt the trial pending an interlocutory appeal. That means that the defendants would not have to wait for a final judgment at trial to appeal, but could appeal the judge’s rulings before trial. Litigants need permission for an interlocutory appeal (there are exceptions, not relevant here).

As Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed described on November 2, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to address the issue in this procedural posture, but sent signals that the trial court should grant the interlocutory appeal and the 9th Circuit should consider the case:

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a Trump administration request to prevent a trial in a high-profile lawsuit in which a group of young people are trying to force the federal government to take broad action on climate change, claiming it hasn’t done enough to ensure their right to a safe and clean environment.

The high court, however, strongly suggested that further questions should be resolved by the appeals courts before the case goes to trial.

The Justice Department had asked the Supreme Court in late October to order a halt to the trial, which had been scheduled to begin on Oct. 29. The court denied that request — but it did so “because adequate relief may be available in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.”

In a three-page, unsigned order, the Supreme Court suggested that an immediate appeal of the district court’s ruling on key legal questions is likely appropriate before any trial begins.

For now, though, the temporary stay on the trial, which had been issued by Chief Justice John Roberts while the court considered the Trump administration’s request, has been lifted, with justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch stating that they would have granted the request….

In Friday night’s order from the Supreme Court, justices strongly questioned the decision not to allow an immediate appeal, noting its earlier language from the July order that the claims in the case present “substantial grounds for difference of opinion,” and pointing out that the standard under which a judge can allow for interlocutory appeal is when an order addresses “a controlling question of law as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion” and where an immediate appeal could shorten the length of the litigation.

The Judge in the case has just reversed herself, in light of the Supreme Court comments, and has granted an interlocutory appeal. The full order (pdf.) is embedded below (h/t Chris Geidner).

The Court noted that the 9th Circuit had stayed the trial suggesting the trial court reconsider: “On November 8, 2018 at 1:25 p.m., the Ninth Circuit issued an Order in Case No. 18-73014, staying trial in this case pending that court’s consideration of defendants’ mandamus petition. … In its November 8 Order, the Ninth Circuit also invited this Court to revisit its decision todeny interlocutory review.”

[The 9th Circuit Order referenced above is here.]

Here is the key portion of the trial court order:

This Court stands by its prior rulings on jurisdictional and merits issues, as well as its belief that this case would be better served by further factual development at trial. The Cami has, however, reviewed the record and takes particular note of the recent orders issued by the United States Supreme Couii on July 30, 2018, and November 2, 2018, as well as the extraordinary Order of the United States Couii of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in United States v. USDC-ORE, Case No. 18-73014 issued on November 8, 2018. At this time, the Comt finds sufficient cause to revisit the question of interlocutory appeal as to its previous orders, and upon reconsideration, the Court finds that each of the factors outlined in § 1292(b) have been met regarding the previously mentioned orders. Thus, this Court now exercises its discretion and immediately certifies this case for interlocutory appeal. The Comt does not make this decision lightly. Accordingly, this case is
STAYED pending a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

So the case is on hold pending review by the 9th Circuit, and eventually, the Supreme Court.

Which means, according to the drama of the lawsuit, we may not have a planet left.


Kids Climate Change Lawsuit – District Court Order Granting Interlocutory Appeal by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


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Not so fast professor! Yes, this lawsuit is ludicrous in a town where there is only one lawyer. But when there are two or more, nothing is ludicrous. We have a resident troll who proves this every day. Anyone can sue anyone else for anything.

(I surrender my remaining time to the gentleman from the Coney Island School of Law and Dance.)

    Oregon Mike in reply to Pasadena Phil. | November 21, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    I live in Eugene, Oregon, where this case is being tried.

    There’s a banner flying over 11th Avenue downtown celebrating the Climate Kids’ law suit.

    The case is before Judge Ann Aiken, whom I’ve known for ages. She was appointed to the Lane County, Oregon, District Court by now disgraced former Governor Neil Goldschmidt (who had his little cozy MeToo Moments with his children’s baby sitter for years, covered up by the State Police. She later ascended to the Lane County Circuit Court and then was appointed to the U.S. District Court by Clinton.

    Prior to her first appointment the Oregon State Bar polled the lawyers of Lane County. Ann came in third in the polling. I came in second. Frank Papagni, now an assistant U.S. Attorney for Oregon, placed first. (Frank later achieved fame for prosecuting Dwight and Steven Hammond for setting fires in Eastern Oregon, whose resentencing precipitated the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Occupation by the Bundy Bunch in 2016; the Hammonds’ sentences were commuted by Trump earlier this year.)

    Conveniently, Ann’s husband Jim Klonoski was the Chair of the Oregon Democrat Party, and she was the Lane County Chair of Goldschmidt’s committee for his election to Governor of Oregon.

    There may be a reason lurking in here why this case is such a political circus.

      Humphrey's Executor in reply to Oregon Mike. | November 22, 2018 at 9:40 am

      The Government should immediately offer to grant licenses to Nuclear Power plants in and around Eugene as a remedy to the pernicious CO2 problem. BTW, they defendants need to bring in China, India, et. al. as third party defendants.

      RandomCrank in reply to Oregon Mike. | November 25, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      Is this the same case, or is there a different “climate kids” lawsuit in Oregon? Oh, and what relief does this lawsuit seek?

ICYMI said delay means the Federal Court’s ruling will be AFTER the lawsuit’s Claimed Climate Change APOCALYPSE #LOL

    So will the brainwashed young ‘uns being used by their liberal parents and lawyers be awarded any special compensation in the afterlives they do not believe in?

    Milhouse in reply to mathewsjw. | November 21, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Isn’t it already after several apocalypses?

      Cold. Warm. Warm. Hot. Catastrophic. Change.

      puhiawa in reply to Milhouse. | November 21, 2018 at 8:26 pm

      Indeed. The Arctic melted in 2013, Southern Greenland is pasture again as it was in the year 1000, but the sea level was 10 feet higher around the world. The Atlantic decadel occillation has come to a complete halt and we now enter an ice age. It is all so confusing. All these predictions, and so little time.
      Oh. And those damn polar bears are now at a historical high at a population of 25,600+, with certain Siberian locales being uncensused.

      tom_swift in reply to Milhouse. | November 21, 2018 at 8:44 pm

      Yes, a string of apocalypses.

      The suit, which was brought by 21 children and young adults

      And one vary old career alarmist. James Hansen has been predicting apocalyptic doom and destruction for approximately forever—ever since he himself was a young ‘un.

This case is a poster child for much of what is wrong with our Judicial System. Standing, venue and competency are more than minor issues. The lawsuit asks the Court to assume the role of legislature in granting relief.

Justice Roberts, you should be concerned about the misuse of the Courts not some remarks of President Trump.

“Plaintiffs assert there is a ve1y short window in which defendants could act to phase out fossil fuel exploitation and avert environmental catastrophe.”

Of all the indulgent conspiracy theories and doomsday scenarios from Nibiru to energy weapons and Q anon etc there is one that is far more likely and never heard of in the annuls of Facebook or any media outlet that is more real and a larger threat to our survival than anything in the foregoing list

Economic collapse. If the guy driving the truck can’t afford to feed his kids, he’s likely to stop driving the truck.

Technology fed by the success of the industrial revolution depends on hydrocarbon fuel at relatively low cost for the continued survival of the massive population currently inhabiting the planet.

Any disruption to this well-oiled machine has a great potential to result in continental or worldwide hunger or outright famine, as every component of the food chain relies heavily on machines burning hydrocarbon fuels

No amount of wishful thinking, confiscatory regulation or Obama judges will change that fact, but they could easily bring about economic disruption leading to national, continental or even global calamity beyond the ability of man to reckon with

Perhaps they need to bring The Count from Sesame Street into classrooms and teach our impressionable children the numbers of how oil keeps the artificially high number of Homosapians we’ve managed to affect the planet with alive and the consequences of any major disruption to its exploration, production and distribution.

    Milhouse in reply to Rduke008. | November 21, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Well said.

    Ulysses in reply to Rduke008. | November 21, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    When the oil stops flowing people will commence dying in the billions. It will make the Court ordered shutdown of California farmer’s water look like small potatoes.

    Something has to be done about lawsuits whose real goal is to turn Judges into Legislators.

    Hydrocarbon fuels for mobile applications and heating, and the myriad of hydrocarbon derived products, and, of course, carbon-based life processes.

    Rduke008 in reply to Rduke008. | November 21, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    Did i forget to say that famine, starvation and mass die off of human beings is an environmental catastrophe which threatens survival, way of life whether from political or physical disruptions of hydrocarbon fuels promises far more certainty than any scheme to undermine capitalism devised and thinly veiled under guise of what’s supposedly good for us, and therefor “the planet…”

Next up for Judge Aiken an order to make the days shorter to keep the Earth cooler.

A Gamma Ray burst could damage the Earth’s atmosphere. A supernova could suddenly appear and vaporize the Earth. These and other cosmic events can occur at any time, without warning. Perhaps Ann Aiken should issue a Royal Judicial Order against the Sun.

    practicalconservative in reply to dystopia. | November 21, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    All hail Her Royal Judicial Highness Queen Ann (Aiken) and her Child Saviors of the Earth.

    Next up Queen Ann will find Newtons Third Law Unconstitutional.

Reminds me of the Children’s Crusade.

King Cnut could not be reached for comment.

UnCivilServant | November 21, 2018 at 7:51 pm

It should be thrown out for violating the first amendment by trying to force the government to establish Warmism as the state religion.

Will the 8 year old be cross examined on his understanding of climatology?

“Now Bobby, when the climate models failed to predict the recent 19 year cooling trend, climate scientists produced 51 different studies, each theorizing where the ‘missing’ heat gone. Can you point to where –

(Bobby points to gallery)

– I’m sorry, that wasn’t meant literally. Let me rephrase… of the 51 theories, can you select… What are you pointing at Bobby?


Your Honor, permission to approach the witness and hand him his Snoopy?

Reminds me of the Children’s Crusade

Hitler Youth was the first thing I thought, slavish adherence to ideology.

DouglasJBender | November 21, 2018 at 8:49 pm

Thank God we have little children to lead us to Climate truth.

Standing? How is their injury different from that experienced by the general public?

Plaintiffs assert there is a ve1y short window in which defendants could act to phase out fossil fuel exploitation and avert environmental catastrophe.

We just saw a similar effort in that paper claiming oceanic warming at an alarming high rate, which was later claimed to have an “innocent” error. But they’ll keep trying—a panicked stampede toward a solution to a nonexistent problem is essential to the Warmunist program.

Of course as everyone should know, at various times throughout geological history the earth has been considerably warmer than today and, at other times, considerably cooler, and neither state was catastrophic, sudden, or irreversible.

    MajorWood in reply to tom_swift. | November 22, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    There was a great documentary which examined the bottom of the Great Lakes and widely varying water levels via high-resolution radar. Amazing things have happened there in the last 10000 years, and 99.99% of them occurred w/o man being involved. Who Da Thunk!

Kiddie Prop 2.0 will be used to sue for firearm confiscation. Wait and see.

The citizens of the United States need to decide whether they want to be ruled by a cadre of unelected Judicial Oligarchs; or governed as a Representative Republic with lawmaking authority vested in an only in an elected President and Congress.

The main reason why this lawsuit should have been summarily dismissed is a lack of jurisdiction. Wold wide climate change is a GLOBAL issue. The jurisdiction of the US Government ends at the nation’s borders. As 85+% of all man-made carbon dioxide is produced outside the borders of the USA AND by parties who do not fall under the jurisdiction of the government of the United States, said government can not be held responsible for any alleged effects of the actions of these actors.

Case dismissed without having to prove that 1) man-made global warming exists or not and 2) that the US Government has not adequately addressed it. I also find it reprehensible that anyone would stoop to a blatant emotional appeal by using children as litigious human shields.

They would be better served suing over the crappy schools that they are forced to attend. That at least meets the standards regarding jurisdiction.

And Mike, it should be #Metooyoung, since she was 14. And apparently the Oregonian isn’t ashamed that Willamette Week, who broke the story, has better street cred these days.

I see this as a flailing act of desperation as the Global Warming Cult bleeds out. They are hemorrhaging fanatics who are embarrassed to have been a part of it.