SEVERE WX : Air Stagnation Advisory View Alerts

UPDATE: Supreme Court Stalls Youth Climate Lawsuit Days Before Trial

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a high-profile climate change lawsuit that 21 young activists brought against the federal government.

Posted: Oct 19, 2018 2:04 PM
Updated: Oct 19, 2018 4:15 PM

UPDATE 4:10 PM (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a high-profile climate change lawsuit that 21 young activists brought against the federal government.

The order issued Friday by Chief Justice John Roberts freezes trial proceedings in U.S. District Court in Oregon until lawyers for the young people provide a response and until another court order.

Justice Department lawyers had asked the high court Thursday to dismiss the case went to trial Oct. 29.

The lawsuit alleges the federal government has violated young people's constitutional rights through policies that have caused a dangerous climate.

They have said their generation bears the brunt of climate change and that the government has an obligation to protect natural resources for present and future generations.

The young activists have until Wednesday to provide a response.


INITIAL REPORT: By PHUONG LE , Associated Press


SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. government is trying again to stop a high-profile climate change lawsuit days before young activists are set to argue at trial that the government has violated their constitutional rights through policies that have caused a dangerous climate.

Justice Department lawyers on Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to dismiss the case, saying the suit attempts to redirect federal environmental policies through the courts rather than through the political process. That court in July denied the government's previous request to dismiss the case, calling it "premature."

A group of 21 young activists, now between 11 and 22 years old and who live in Seattle and across the country, sued in federal court in Oregon in 2015. They have said their generation bears the brunt of climate change and that the government has an obligation to protect natural resources for present and future generations.

They say government officials have known for more than 50 years that carbon pollution from fossil fuels was causing climate change and that government policies on fossil fuels deprive them of life, liberty, and property without due process. They also say the government has failed to protect natural resources as a "public trust" for future generations.

The lawsuit seeks a court order for the government to stop permitting and authorizing fossil fuels, quickly phase out carbon dioxide emissions and develop a national climate recovery plan.

The government, under the Obama and Trump administrations, has tried unsuccessfully for years to get the case dismissed.

Last week, the Trump administration also asked 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the case. That court rejected a similar request in July.

"The latest attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the trial does not appear to be based on any new evidence or arguments. The only new element is an additional Supreme Court justice," said Melissa Scanlan, a professor at Vermont Law School, who is not involved in the case. She was referring to the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh earlier this month, who replaced the more moderate Anthony Kennedy.

Scanlan added that the Trump administration is trying to avoid "what they're expecting to be a 50-day trial focused on climate disruption," she added.

Barring intervention from a higher court, the trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 29 in federal court in Eugene, Oregon. It is expected to last eight to 12 weeks, wrapping up in January.

Julia Olson, one of the lawyers representing the young plaintiffs and chief legal counsel for Our Children's Trust, said the court should "hear the evidence in this fundamental rights case."

"We are ready to bring all of the facts forward and prove these youths' case once and for all," she said in a statement.

In court filings, the federal government argues the plaintiffs don't have the standing to bring the case, that the issues should be left to the political branches of government and not the court and the public trust doctrine doesn't apply in the case.

Jeffrey Wood, acting assistant attorney general for the department's environment and natural resources division, said they "firmly believe there is no legal basis for this case to be heard in federal court."

The lawsuit "is an unconstitutional attempt to use a single court to control the entire nation's energy and climate policy," he said, according to prepared remarks for a speech he gave Friday at a conference in San Diego. "It is a matter of separation of powers and preserving the opportunity in our system of government for those policies to be decided by the elected branches, not the courts."

The lawsuit is part of a nationwide effort led by the Oregon-based nonprofit Our Children's Trust to force states and the federal government to take action on climate change.

James Hansen, a former top NASA scientist who told Congress the world 30 years ago that global warming had arrived, is also a plaintiff in the federal case.

On Monday, District Court Judge Ann Aiken denied the government's motion for summary judgment and dismissed President Trump as a defendant in the case.

She rejected arguments the plaintiffs don't have standing to bring the case, noting they made specific allegations of "personal injuries caused by human induced climate change," including extreme weather events in 2016 and 2017 that led to flooding in Louisiana.

Scanlan, the law professor, said the plaintiffs will need to show that the government created a danger, that they knew they created that danger and they "with deliberative indifference" failed to prevent harm.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 387485

Reported Deaths: 5116
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah59768836
Washington41571393
Marion39592504
Clackamas32426376
Lane29856354
Jackson24672350
Deschutes23182185
Umatilla15087180
Linn14488178
Douglas13236286
Josephine10057240
Yamhill9665142
Klamath8979145
Polk813698
Benton605137
Malheur591586
Coos5573106
Columbia423855
Jefferson416865
Lincoln357252
Union336854
Crook330156
Wasco314846
Clatsop258335
Baker217531
Tillamook214345
Hood River211337
Morrow197025
Curry190136
Harney119332
Grant108314
Lake104016
Wallowa74713
Sherman1903
Gilliam1844
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5061240

Reported Deaths: 74159
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152548627128
San Diego4047084319
Riverside3849455306
San Bernardino3718825944
Orange3329505675
Sacramento1674002423
Kern1565171781
Fresno1558992246
Santa Clara1511691922
Alameda1246581504
San Joaquin1070001833
Ventura1036461188
Contra Costa1032921045
Stanislaus912991413
Tulare856141082
San Francisco56614669
San Mateo56058629
Monterey52340625
Solano47422356
Santa Barbara47035548
Merced44807664
Sonoma42912412
Placer41881468
Imperial38128769
Kings35038358
San Luis Obispo31294358
Madera26005311
Shasta25917440
Butte25295309
Santa Cruz22028222
Yolo21451257
Marin18342248
El Dorado18166161
Sutter14494181
Napa13372104
Yuba1070088
Tehama10230129
Humboldt10043117
Nevada9914103
Mendocino848894
Lassen792355
San Benito775977
Tuolumne767790
Lake6990110
Amador573766
Siskiyou470954
Glenn455136
Calaveras435685
Del Norte371242
Colusa323519
Inyo254345
Plumas19127
Mono18294
Mariposa156718
Trinity98817
Modoc7475
Unassigned2430
Sierra2170
Alpine1060
Out of CA00
Medford
Mostly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 47°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 57°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 47°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 47°
Klamath Falls
Mostly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 39°
Fog and stagnant air in the valleys, dry and mild weather continues into Monday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events