Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

Kids Suing Trump Admin. Over Climate Change

by Countable | 12.12.17

What’s the story?

President Donald Trump can add another lawsuit to the mounting legal challenges against him — this one by kids aged 9 to 21.

21 tweens and teens are accusing the Trump administration of endangering their, and future generations’, constitutional rights to a clean atmosphere.

The young plaintiffs headed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Monday, where a three-judge panel is hearing arguments on whether the case should be allowed to proceed to trial.

Why does it matter?

In Juliana v. The United States of America, filed in Oregon, the children claimed that the government was jeopardizing their future by failing to tackle climate change and by incentivizing corporations to pollute the environment through measures like tax breaks for fossil fuel companies.

The case was initially filed against the Obama administration, for what the plaintiffs said were decades of neglect by the U.S. government against the climate. During Obama’s tenure, the lawsuit seemed unlikely to gain any traction.

But then Trump was sworn into office, and pledged to undo many of the previous administration’s climate policy initiatives.

So, in February 2017, the plaintiffs gave notice they were now suing the Trump administration. The youngsters argued that with the new administration’s openly hostile attitudes to climate policy, the case had taken on an even larger significance.

The Trump administration, and the three fossil fuel lobby groups that had joined the suit as defendants, vigorously fought to get the lawsuit thrown out. They asked the 9th Circuit Court to pre-emptively dismiss the case.

It didn’t work.

While the Justice Department hasn’t commented on Monday’s proceedings, government lawyers are expected to make the same arguments they did in court filings last summer: that the case should be tossed as it would place a "staggering burden" on the Trump administration by making it sift through decades of federal documents and communications with fossil fuel companies.

The Department of Justice also questions the lower Oregon court's ruling that American citizens have an “unenumerated fundamental right” to “a climate system capable of sustaining human life.”

"The court has determined that this amorphous and sweeping right is judicially enforceable, permitting the court to dictate and manage — indefinitely — all federal policy decisions related to fossil fuels, energy production, alternative energy sources, public lands, and air quality standards. To say the least, and by the district court’s own admission, this ruling is 'unprecedented'."

But plaintiff Jacob Lebel, now 20, said his generation will bear the consequences of climate change policy.

"Years from now, Trump and his cabinet—they won’t be the ones dealing with starvation and refugees and resource wars and all that stuff. We’re the ones who are gonna be dealing with that. As young people, we think about that every single day."

What do you think?

Is a courtroom the right place to settle climate change science? Do Americans have an "unenumerated fundamental right” to a clean atmosphere? Hit Take Action and let your reps know—then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

Related Reading

(Photo courtesy Our Children's Trust)

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(40)
  • Ticktock
    12/12/2017
    ···

    The largest unrepresented group of US citizens are minors. Do they have the right to contest political decisions that they perceive as endangering their future. Yes. Those voters who have reached the age of majority are having no impact on this Administration or Congress. It’s time another group takes a different approach. I hope they succeed. We have done a poor job of protecting their future environment

    Like (32)
    Follow
    Share
  • Luke
    12/12/2017
    ···

    Good on ya kids. Nice to see our youth exercising their voice, corporate greed will ruin this country and planet for generations to come time to stand up.

    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
  • Hillard
    12/12/2017
    ···

    I FIND ABSOLUTELY AMAZING AND WONDERFUL THAT THESE YOUNG PEOPLE ARE DOING WHAT WE OLDSTERS SHOULD HAVE BEE DOING FOR YEARS. THEY ARE OF COURSE RIGHT IN TAKING THIS ACTION TO TRY AND PROTECT FUTURE GENERATIONS AND IT IS FAIR FOR ALL OF US TO PAY FOR IT. IN THE LONG RUN THE COSTS WILL PROBABLY DECREASE, BUT EVEN IF NOT FINANCIALLY THEY WILL SAVE LIVES. I AM 76 AND I WANT A BETTER FUTURE FOR MY CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN, ETC. IT IS TIME FOR US TO LOOK BEYOND TODAY.

    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
  • Bridget
    12/12/2017
    ···

    Please support these individuals in any way you can! This is wonderful seeing the future generation taking matters in their own hand. Good for them!

    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
  • Daron
    12/12/2017
    ···

    Being 21 i agree with them. Y’all are going to get us blown up before we even have a chance to grow old.

    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
  • Lee
    12/13/2017
    ···

    This lawsuit is ludicrous! The Paris Climate Control Accord is a Hoax! I called it redistribution of wealth. I am all for Clean Air and Clean Water and think the USA is doing a pretty good job. But we have no control over many other countries in the World. The biggest culprits of Air Pollution, etc., are China, India and many other 3rd World Countries. Most of these countries politicians are corrupt to the core and people live on meager incomes and in misery. Let China, India and the European Countries pay for Cleaning the Environment.

    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
  • Michelle
    12/13/2017
    ···

    Have these ‘kids’ banned manufactured toys from their lives? What about air conditioning, all of their electronics, vacations? They are the consumers of fossil-fueled lifestyles. You can not eliminate fossil fuels without first having an alternative...and don’t say electronic cars...how do you think the electricity is made? Fairy dust? Are they growing their own food in their yards? It starts at home. Growing up we were told an ice age was coming, we were going to run out of water and the entire planet would run out of food...hmmm, not yet. The climate has always changed (ice ages and warming periods). The US is cleaner that it was in the early 70s...no one ‘wants’ to pollute or destroy the planet. This is a grab for money; I hey aren’t willing to DO anything to make a change....why not DO something....pick up trash, stop buying so much material possessions, turn off your A/C-Is it hat too inconvenient?

    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
  • Susan
    12/12/2017
    ···

    This is amazing and fabulous and I I firmly stand behind them! Trump is out to destroy our country with the help of Bannon and everything we can do to stop him must be done.and Pences prayers are not being heard.

    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
  • Walter
    12/12/2017
    ···

    Trivial and ridiculous lawsuit. Of course, 9th Circuit will uphold and nonsensical court decision against Trump. CU at SCOTUS.

    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
  • Susan
    12/12/2017
    ···

    There is NO constitutional right to a "clean atmosphere", but since this case has landed with the 9th Circus there is no telling what the court will decide. The 9th is the circuit court that loves any liberal, unicorn loving, utopia ideal it sees. It is also the MOST OVERTURNED Court in the USA.

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • Jeanne
    12/13/2017
    ···

    Interesting idea! Might be how regular people survive The Elitist politicians.

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • Christine
    12/12/2017
    ···

    Fantastic! Thank you all for your courageous leadership!

    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
  • Cecile
    12/13/2017
    ···

    Bless these kids. With the rump adm trying to fuck our national parks rather than explore alternatives to our oil addiction, we need as many voices as possible to save our piece of the earth. I read some of the hoax remarks below, but all they do is obfuscate and deflect. What's wrong with being innovative and saving our precious earth? Why side with corporations who have been successfully duping citizens for years so they can line their pockets?

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Jack
    12/13/2017
    ···

    This is a. National security issue please be vocal on this. We need decisive action and for you to start calling out the GOP. Please be aggressive

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Tim
    12/12/2017
    ···

    There are three branches of government, this issue is not a judicial issue. It should be handled by the legislative branch . The judicial branch let alone the ninth District Court has no business here however that will not stop them. Additionally, the whole premise is wildly over exaggerated.

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • BipedBoy
    12/12/2017
    ···

    I'm not sure we have a constitutional right to a clean atmosphere.. but if the government continues to make decisions that ignore and jeopardize access clean air and clean water, something has to be done. I am very worried about our planet's future. Our youth understand the consequences of our obsession with cheap disposable goods. Even if this lawsuit gets dismissed, the fact that youth are mobilizing for the sake of their own future gives me hope for my own.

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Humble
    12/12/2017
    ···

    I THINK THERE IS A SINISTER PLOT WITH ALL THIS GLOBAL WARMING PUSH THEIR PUSHING IT’S HUMAN CAUSED If you design and build something, then if some thing go’s wrong, you purity well know what caused it and how to fix it. So if it’s HUMANS FAULT EARTH IS WARMING? WHAT CAUSED IT TO START WARMING BEFORE THE CAVE MEN AND WOMEN??? OH AND THE CAVE MEN AND WOMEN MUST HAVE BEEN DRIVING THEIR GAS GUZZLERS AND HAD THEIR FACTORIES UP TO FULL OPERATIONS! ccampbell@npr.org THOMAS JEFFERSON A change in our climate however is taking place very sensibly. Both heats and colds are become much more moderate within the memory even of the middle-aged. Snows are less frequent and less deep. They do not often lie, below the mountains, more than one, two, or three days, and very rarely a week. They are remembered to have been formerly frequent, deep, and of long continuance. The elderly inform me the earth used to be covered with snow about three months in every year. The rivers, which then seldom failed to freeze over in the course of the winter, scarcely ever do so now. This change has produced an unfortunate fluctuation between heat and cold, in the spring of the year, which is very fatal to fruits. From the year 1741 to 1769, an interval of twenty-eight years, there was no instance of fruit killed by the frost in the neighbourhood of Monticello. An intense cold, produced by constant snows, kept the buds locked up till the sun could obtain, in the spring of the year, so fixed an ascendency as to dissolve those snows, and protect the buds, during their developement, from every danger of returning cold. The accumulated snows of the winter remaining to be dissolved all together in the spring, produced those overflowings of our rivers, so frequent then, and so rare now. Industrial Age The Industrial Age is a period of history that encompasses the changes in economic and social organization that began around 1760 in Great Britain and later in other countries, characterized chiefly by the replacement of hand tools with power-driven machines such as the power loom and the steam engine, and by the concentration of industry in large establishments.[1][2] While it's commonly believed that the Industrial Age was supplanted by the Information Age in the late 20th century,[3] a view that's become common since the Revolutions of 1989, as of 2013 electric power generation is still based mostly on fossil fuels and much of the Third World economy is still based on manufacturing. Thus it is debatable whether we have left the Industrial Age already or are still in it and in the process of reaching the Information Age. [4] AS YOU SEE THE INDUSTRIAL AGE HAD BARLEY GOTTEN STARTED! But lets go back again, it been proven that there was a drought back in the 1200's Carbon dated Ice proved that way back in the 1200's was dry and bitterly cold Period! See The Say TROPICAL RAIN BELT SHIFTED BACK AND FORTH ACROSS THE EQUATOR!! GEE! POLITICS MAYBE?? Then Of Corse We Have? Jacques cousteau is overpopulated countries Could We Be Getting Exterminated For Political Reasons! THEY TELL US ARCTIC IS MELTING AND IT’S OUR FAULT YET THEY WILL NOT TELL YOU THERE ARE 100 VOLCANO’S UNDER THE ARCTIC!! Fire Under Arctic Ice: Volcanoes Have Been Blowing Their Tops ... www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/... Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. "Fire Under Arctic Ice: Volcanoes Have Been Blowing Their Tops In The Deep Ocean." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, ...

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • James
    12/12/2017
    ···

    You ask if the Courts are the place to settle climate change. It seems to be the only rational place where citizens may go. As Congress can’t agree on what the “definition of what is is” how can we ever hope to have a sane master plan for environmental policy that includes them. If we have to depend on the Executive Branch, well we can all see what is being undone by the current administration and its deniers. How other than a concerted efforts in the courts can it be done. If we look historically at actual cultural change, that which ends exhausting wrongs, it has always been the judiciary who has done it. “The arc of history is long but it always bends towards justice”

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • Felton
    12/12/2017
    ···

    The Ninth “circus” will probably give them what they want

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
  • OldTimer
    12/12/2017
    ···

    This lawsuit is nothing more than a money grab by some lawyers and politicians. The people who are buying into this aren’t thinking very far foreword. Who will pay the cost of this suit and if by chance there should be a judgement who pays that? The taxpayers of course and who will the taxpayers be? The children this very lawsuit is supposed to be protecting. How much sense does this make.

    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share