Supreme Court allows kids’ case to move forward

Source: Ellen M. Gilmer, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, November 5, 2018

Landmark litigation brought by young people challenging government inaction on climate change is set to move forward.

The Supreme Court issued an order Friday greenlighting the ambitious “kids’ climate case,” a novel lawsuit brought by 21 children and young adults asserting a right to a safe climate.

The court found that the stay is unwarranted because the government can still seek review in the 9th Circuit.

“At this time, however, the Government’s petition for a writ of mandamus does not have a ‘fair prospect’ of success in this Court because adequate relief may be available in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,” it wrote.

The case was scheduled to go to trial this week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. It’s unclear how the schedule will change in light of the Supreme Court detour. Trump administration lawyers had made an eleventh-hour plea for the high court to halt the case, which they say involves political and regulatory issues that do not belong in the courtroom.

The justices denied the request today after Chief Justice John Roberts provided a temporary reprieve two weeks ago (Greenwire, Oct. 19).

The administrative stay is now lifted. The order notes that Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas would have granted the application.

The decision is a massive win for the youth plaintiffs, who have fended off multiple government attempts to derail the case. Previous attempts to halt proceedings were unsuccessful at the district court, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, which in July denied a similar government petition.