This is a guest post by Dan Zegart crossposted from Climate Investigations Center
The Trump administration is asking an Oregon federal judge in the Our Children's Trust case to let a higher court review her decision to permit a historic climate change lawsuit to proceed, and to halt the case pending the outcome of that review.
In 2015, a group of 21 young plaintiffs aged 9 to 20 from all over the United States, along with renowned climate scientist James Hansen, who is acting as guardian for future generations, sued the federal government for allegedly violating their constitutional rights via policies that promote global warming.
The suit, filed by the non-profit Our Children's Trust organization, claims there is a “public trust” obligation by the federal government under the constitution to take necessary measures to protect the climate. In a November 10, 2016 decision, federal District Court Judge Ann Aiken agreed with the OCT plaintiffs, and ruled they were entitled under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to a trial to decide if the government failed in that duty, a startling decision.
In papers filed Monday, in Eugene, Oregon, U.S. Department of Justice attorneys requested permission from Judge Aiken to appeal her decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — and also asked that the process be expedited due to “the significance of the issues raised and the burden on Federal Defendants that discovery is likely to impose.”