Climate Change Suit Won’t Face High Court Delay

WASHINGTON (CN) — Though it already interrupted the case from going to trial, the Supreme Court declined Friday night to blot out a suit that demands the government do more to prevent climate change.

The Trump administration had pushed for dismissal of the case back on Oct. 18 with a petition for a writ of mandamus.

Though the justices granted a temporary stay the following day, they concluded Friday that the dismissal request improperly bypassed the trial court.

The government can still petition for dismissal of the case at the trial court level, according to the 3-page, unsigned order, which also notes that “adequate relief may be available” from the Ninth Circuit. A federal appeals court that handles cases cases from the West Coast, including Oregon where the suit at issue was filed, the Ninth Circuit has already declined previous requests to dismiss the case at earlier stages.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch said they would have extended last month’s stay.

A group of 21 young people, ages 11 to 22, brought the challenge at issue, saying that more than 50 years of policy failures by the government deprives them of life, liberty and property, amid decades of evidence that climate change is caused by carbon pollution from fossil fuels.

Julia Olson, an attorney for the group of children that brought the suit, said in a statement Friday night that they have asked for an immediate status conference to get the case “back on track for trial in the next week.”

Accusing the government of having failed to protect natural resources as a “public trust” for future generations, the suit wants the trial court in Eugene to compel a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 2100 and to develop a national climate recovery plan.

Since the case was filed in 2015, the federal government under the Obama and Trump administrations has lost multiple attempts to get the case dismissed.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec declined comment on the Supreme Court’s action Friday.

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