The 21 young people suing the federal government over climate change are arguing to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that a recent Supreme Court decision protecting gay and transgender rights is also an argument to revive their lawsuit.
The plaintiffs in Juliana v. United States filed a letter on Monday to the appellate court arguing that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, supports their arguments. The kids contend that the Fifth Amendment’s declaration that no person “shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law” allows courts to deal with issues like climate change and gay rights even if the founders had not envisioned those issues when the amendment was written.
The young plaintiffs are pursuing an appeal to the full Ninth Circuit after a three-judge panel ruled in January that the courts lack the power to rule on climate change policies, which must be handled by the legislative and executive branches.
“By abandoning Constitutional interpretation and the possibility of declaratory relief here, telling non-voting children to turn to Congress, the majority favored the strong, popular interests that maintain the status quo, denying children the protections afforded by the Fifth Amendment,” the plaintiffs said in the letter.
The young plaintiffs sent two letters explaining the relevance of the Bostock decision matters for their case. In the second, they wrote, “The declaratory relief awarded in Bostock will govern the way employers and government comply with the law in the future, just as declaratory relief, if awarded here, could resolve the constitutional controversy brought by these children.”