Youth v. Gov
YOUTH V GOV: Historic Lawsuit of the Century
Xiuhtezcatl and 20 other youth plaintiff’s from across the country filed their constitutional climate lawsuit, called Juliana v. U.S., against the U.S. government in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in 2015. Earth Guardians is also an organizational plaintiff on the case.
Their complaint asserts that, through the government’s affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources. The case has moved through many courts and is now the past 7 years and is still moving forward to trial.
The fossil fuel industry initially intervened in the case as defendants, joining the U.S. government in trying to have the case dismissed. In April 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin recommended denial of both of motions to dismiss. U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken upheld Judge Coffin’s recommendation, with the issuance of a historic November 10, 2016 opinion and order denying the motions. When the defendants sought an interlocutory appeal of that order, Judge Aiken denied their motions in June 2017.
UPDATE: On March 1, 2019 powerful voices of support for the Juliana v. United States youth plaintiffs and their landmark constitutional climate lawsuit filed amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In all, 15 amicus briefs, filed on behalf of a diverse set of supportive communities, including members of U.S. Congress, legal scholars, religious and women’s groups, businesses, historians, medical doctors, international lawyers, environmentalists, and more than 32,000 youth under the age of 25, displayed legal support for Juliana v. United States to proceed to trial.