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Youth to Argue Climate Change at 9th Circuit

By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 28, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Youth aged 9 to 21 will get their day in court in a climate-change case, and not in a moot-court sort of way.

In Juliana et al v. United States, the young plaintiffs want the federal government to change the way it deals with global warming and fossil fuels. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals announced it will hear arguments about whether to push the case towards trial.

The Trump administration filed a petition to stay discovery in the case and to dismiss it instead. If denied, the administration may have to confront scientific evidence the President has already dismissed.

Global Warming

President Trump doesn't believe the scientific evidence supporting global warming.

"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," he tweeted.

In the suit funded by Our Children's Trust, environmental attorneys argue the government has known for half a century that fossil fuels cause climate change. They allege the government has breached the public trust to prevent the resulting environmental degradation.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken set a trial date for Feb. 5, 2018, in Eugene, Oregon, but the administration filed a mandamus petition to stop it or at least slow it down.

Mandamus Petition

In its petition to the Ninth Circuit, the government argued that the plaintiffs' discovery demands were overly burdensome. The appeals court invited the trial court to respond.

"In short, we do not believe that the government will be irreversibly damaged by proceeding to trial," Aiken wrote, joined by Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin. "Indeed, we believe that permitting this case to proceed to trial will produce better results on appeal by distilling the legal and factual questions that can only emerge from a fully developed record."

The appeals panel will hear oral arguments on Dec. 5, 2017.

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