The Supreme Court on Friday night refused to stop a new trial filed by young Americans trying to force the federal government to take action on climate change, rejecting a request by the Trump administration to stop before the trial.
The protest filed in 2015 by 21 young people who argue that the failure of government leaders to combat climate change violates their constitutional right to a clean environment is before a federal judge in Oregon. It was delayed, while the Supreme Court considered the government's emergency request.
Judges Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch would have stopped the proceedings. The other judges did not say how they voted for the government's request.
The court's three-page mandate stated that the government should seek relief from the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. He noted the government's claim that "the suit is based on a series of unprecedented legal theories, such as a substantive right to a fair process in certain climatic conditions and a right to equal protection to live in the same climate as previous generations."
The judges acknowledged that the 9th Circuit had previously rejected the government, but stated that these decisions took place when there was "the likelihood that the claimants' allegations would be reduced depending on the course of the case." This is no longer the case, the unannounced opinion said, the probability that the 9th Circuit could see things different now.
And it was open to the government to be able to return to the Supreme Court.
The purpose of the trial is to force the government to reduce its support for the extraction and production of fossil fuels and to support policies aimed at reducing the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global warming.
"We are confident in all this assumption that we will go to trial and I think we will be judging," said Julia Olson, Trust's young lawyer and executive director, on Friday afternoon, in an interview with The Washington Post. "We have overcome everything the government has put us on. It's no luck. It is the validity of the case and the validity of the evidence and the validity of the legal arguments we are making ".
The Obama and Trump authorities have repeatedly called on the lower courts to dismiss the lawsuit by questioning their merits by saying that the demands of the claims were "burdensome" and arguing that the court would hinder the congressional and federal authorities.
The plaintiffs "seek nothing less than a complete transformation of the US energy system – including the abandonment of fossil fuels – ordered by a single regional court on the orders of the twenty children and young people," Advocate General Noel J. Francisco said in a brief reference to the Supreme Court.
"As the government has maintained since moving to reject this process in 2016, [the] the confirmation of sweeping new fundamental rights in some climatic conditions has no basis in the history and tradition of the nation – and no position in the federal court. "
Francisco acknowledged that he was asking for "extraordinary relief" by asking the court to intervene before starting a lawsuit. But he said the unique nature of the lawsuit deserves such an exception.
If the lengthy trial was allowed to continue, "it could be years in the future" before the government "can seek relief from such an abusive abuse of civil trial and violation of the separation of powers."
The government has made similar arguments in the lower courts, but on several occasions the judges have allowed the case to continue. The government also went to the Supreme Court this summer asking for a stay, but the court in an incoherent opinion called the request "premature".
In this week's 103 deposit pages aimed at sustaining the ongoing trial, the plaintiffs claimed that the Trump administration would not suffer "irreparable" damage to the case.
"This case clearly raises important constitutional questions, including questions about individual freedom and status, the answers to which depend on the full evaluation of the evidence in trial," lawyers write, adding: "These young plaintiffs , just children and young people are already suffering irreparable harm which is aggravated as each day passes with more carbon dioxide that accumulates in the atmosphere and oceans. "
The new activists also used the opportunity to ask the courts again to force the government to "stop the violation of plaintiff rights, prepare the recording of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions and prepare and implement an enforceable national correction plan for to stop constitutional violations by phasing out fossil fuel emissions and reducing atmospheric CO2. "
Olson said the youth claimants filed a petition with the Oregon District Court for a hearing soon in the hope of moving to the long-awaited trial.
Justice Department officials have been unable to come up for comment on Friday.