Court go-ahead for climate change lawsuit
Publish date: 07 August 2018
Issue Number: 568
Diary: Legalbrief Environmental
The US Supreme Court has rejected a petition from the US Solicitor-General requesting an administrative stay of a landmark environmental lawsuit regarding climate change. According to a Jurist report, the lawsuit, filed in the US District Court District of Oregon by a group of individuals between the ages of eight and 19, alleged that US policies over the past 50 years have increased CO2 concentrations that exposed the plaintiffs to the dangers of climate change. The Solicitor-General requested that the Supreme Court stay discovery and trial until the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has made a decision on the Solicitor-General’s request for dismissal of the lawsuit. The trial is scheduled to take place later this year and is expected to last 50 days. The Solicitor-General argued that failure to grant the stay would result in forcing the government to ‘participate in a highly compacted period of discovery and trial preparation followed by a 50-day trial, all of which will itself violate bedrock limitations on agency decision-making and the judicial process imposed by the Administrative Procedure Act and the separation of powers’. The Supreme Court denied the petition for stay, stating that the request was premature. The court also stated that the justiciability of the claims in the lawsuit ‘presents substantial grounds for difference of opinion’ and calls upon the District Court to ‘take these concerns into account in assessing the burdens of discovery and trial’.