The Trump Administration has made yet another argument against a group of young people who have filed a lawsuit trying to compel the government to take action on climate change.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2015 by 21 young people who said that the failure of government leaders to deal with climate change violates their constitutional right to a clean environment. The lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial last fall before a district judge in Oregon. However, it was delayed at the last minute while the Supreme Court considered an emergency request from the government.
In the beginning of November, the court didn’t grant the Trump administration’s request to stop the case before the trial. They instead sent it back to the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. That’s where the case got it latest moment in court on Tuesday.
“It is a case that is a dagger at the separation of powers,” Jeffrey Bossert Clark, an assistant attorney general for the Justice Department, argued before a panel of three appeals court judges. He added, “This is a suit that is designed to circumvent a whole bunch of statutes.”
Julia Olsen, attorney for the plaintiffs, said that her clients were deprived of their fundamental rights because of the government policies that fuel global warming.
The group has a mission to compel the government to scale back its support for fossil fuel extraction and production and to support policies aimed at decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
“When our great-grandchildren look back on the 21st century, they will see that government-sanctioned climate destruction was the constitutional issue of this century,” Ms. Olson said.
In briefs to the Supreme Court, solicitor general Noel Francisco wrote that “the assertion of sweeping new fundamental rights to certain climate conditions has no basis in the nation’s history and tradition – and no place in federal court.”