By Karen Savage
The U.S. Supreme Court has put the brakes on the landmark youth-led climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States.
In a one-page order issued Friday by Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., the court granted a request made earlier this week by the Trump administration to stay discovery and trial pending review of its newly filed petition for writ of mandamus.
Roberts also ordered the plaintiffs to respond to the government’s mandamus petition no later than Wed. Oct. 24.
Trial in the case was previously set to begin on Oct. 29 in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Ore.
The Trump administration has repeatedly asked both the Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the trial via writ of mandamus, a rarely used and even more rarely granted appeal in which a higher court overrules a lower court before a verdict has been issued. The Ninth Circuit has twice turned down the request for mandamus (and a third is pending) and the Supreme Court turned down a previous one as well.
“We are confident once Chief Justice Roberts and the full Court receive the youth plaintiffs’ response to defendants’ mischaracterization of their case, the trial will proceed,” said Julia Olson, co-counsel for the young plaintiffs.
The case has survived numerous attempts by the government to dismiss the case since it was originally filed in 2015. The 21 young plaintiffs from around the country argue that the federal government is violating their Constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by promoting an energy system that exacerbates climate change. They are asking for a science-based program to reduce carbon emissions and protect the climate for future generations.
“As the Supreme Court has recognized in innumerable cases, review of constitutional questions is better done on a full record where the evidence is presented and weighed by the trier of fact. This case is about already recognized fundamental rights and children’s rights of equal protection under the law,” Olson said.