June 3, 2019 6:15 AM   Subscribe

Since 2015, 21 young people from across the country have been suing the federal government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property by knowingly contributing to climate change for over five decades. Like Brown v. Board of Education did for civil rights, Juliana v. United States has the potential to become the landmark climate change case of our country’s history.

Quartz has a good overview of the case's history.

There's a livestream of the case's oral arguments at 2PM PDT (5PM EDT) tomorrow on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals YouTube channel (which is not a thing I would have ever expected to exist).
posted by ragtag (14 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:41 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]

It's about goddamn time!
posted by growabrain at 6:53 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]

My hopes for this effort are... measured. I feel like the era where the upper branches of the court system examined test cases like this as logically and dispassionately as they could, using precedent... is falling by the wayside as upper level judge positions have become political. The result is less about sober interpretation of the law and more about rationalization of their political end goals.

Still, I am rooting for this.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:58 AM on June 3 [16 favorites]

What DirtyOldTown said! With this court, not happening. It may be another generation or two at this rate.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:15 AM on June 3

It may be another generation or two at this rate.

We do not have another generation to address this.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 7:23 AM on June 3 [21 favorites]

I am quite intrigued by this reasoning.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:26 AM on June 3

I feel like the era where the upper branches of the court system examined test cases like this as logically and dispassionately as they could, using precedent

I’m not sure that even a court like that would yield the desired result here, mainly because precedents seem to be scarce and those that exist seem to support dismissing the case as too broad.

I’m hoping for the best though.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:35 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]

I'm hesitant, because last year a Federal District judge dismissed a suit by San Francisco and Oakland
The cities wanted the defendants — including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell — to help pay for projects like protecting coastlines from flooding.
But Judge Alsup said the issues would more properly be handled by the other two branches of government. “The court will stay its hand in favor of solutions by the legislative and executive branches,” he wrote.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:53 AM on June 3 [9 favorites]

While I don't enjoy being a wet blanket, my day job involves tracking and analyzing environmental litigation in the federal courts and nobody I've talked to at any level who's not directly involved with the case thinks there's any chance the Juliana plaintiffs win. Especially with this Supreme Court, it's a good PR move but a doomed legal cause.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:13 AM on June 3 [4 favorites]

Yeah, it's hard to see this case winning outright. But part of why I said it's intriguing is the possibility that there will be some dictum or concurring opinion from which another case can be made later. There's a lot going on here, and if you're playing the long game (which, pretty much by definition, these plaintiffs are), there's a lot left to play out.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:02 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]

Is there a Scylla and Charybdis for Conservative justices where they have to make a narrow ruling to avoid setting precedent for limitations on private property rights, or is this going to just be a lot of conservative hypocrisy?
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:14 AM on June 3

I don't think the legal precedent will matter as much as putting this case in front of the media. This has the potential to spark a lot of populist anger at the price we're being made to pay for decades of private profit. Hopefully, right-thinking people will be there to channel that emotion in into useful direct action and not just more walls & more militarized borders.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 2:21 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]

I read a tiny part part of the plaintiffs’ lawsuit online and... it’s surprisingly very readable for a layperson without a legal background and very, very persuasive.

Unfortunately I’m not sure if persuasion by rational, demonstrable argument will matter to the Roberts Court...
posted by cricketcello at 4:16 PM on June 3

Children's Climate Lawsuit: Appellate Judge Sees Criminal Neglect
One appellate court judge was impressed enough Tuesday by the case brought by 21 children, some now adults, suing the U.S. government over climate change that he said it may show criminal neglect. But Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz remained less certain on the specific question before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: whether the judicial branch can do anything about it.
posted by ragtag at 3:00 AM on June 5

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