U.S. Supreme Court declines to stop 'Climate Kids' lawsuit from going to trial in Eugene

    Young plaintiffs in the Juliana v. United States celebrate after the management conference at the U.S. district court in Eugene, Ore., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. Photo by Kimberly Gough.

    EUGENE, Ore. - The U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay in the "climate kids" lawsuit Juliana v. United States requested by the government.

    The decision preserves the scheduled trial start date of October 29, 2018, in Eugene, Ore.

    “This decision should give young people courage and hope that their third branch of government, all the way up to the Supreme Court, has given them the green light to go to trial in this critical case about their unalienable rights," said Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel of Our Children’s Trust and co-counsel for the youth plaintiffs. "We look forward to presenting the scientific evidence of the harms and dangers these children face as a result of the actions their government has taken to cause the climate crisis.”

    The high court called the request for a stay "premature" and dismissed the request without prejudice. That means the government could seek another stay at a later date.

    But the court also noted that the "breadth of (the plaintiff's) claims is striking" and ordered the District Court to take the federal government's “concerns into account in assessing the burdens of discovery and trial, as well as the desirability of a prompt ruling on the Government’s pending dispositive motions.”

    “We are thankful that the Supreme Court recognized the importance of moving this case forward," said Philip Gregory, of Gregory Law Group and co-counsel for the Youth Plaintiffs. "We are on the last stages of discovery and preparing for trial. We believe that the district court will promptly address narrowing the claims so that the trial can go forward on October 29, 2018 in Eugene.”

    According to Our Children's Trust:

    Juliana v. United States is not about the government’s failure to act on climate. Instead, these 21 young plaintiffs between the ages of 11 and 22, assert that the U.S. government, through its affirmative actions in creating a national energy system that causes climate change, is depriving them of their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, and has failed to protect essential public trust resources.

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