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The Trump Administration Still Can’t Stop Kids’ Lawsuit Over Climate Change

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The United States Supreme Court on Friday rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to block a trial over its environmental agenda. The constitutional climate lawsuit being brought by 21 young activists between the ages of 11 and 22 is a go for trial, provided there isn’t any further interference.

On Friday, seven of the justices—save Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch—found there was no basis for granting the administration’s bid for a stay. Reuters reported Friday that the trial was set to start on October 29 in Eugene, Oregon but was postponed by the judge.


“The youth of our nation won an important decision today from the Supreme Court that shows even the most powerful government in the world must follow the rules and process of litigation in our democracy,” Julia Olson, co-counsel for the youth plaintiffs, said in a statement. Olson is also the executive director and chief legal counsel of Our Children’s Trust, the nonprofit that’s supporting the lawsuit.

The suit was originally filed in 2015 in a federal court in Eugene against the Obama administration but is now facing off with the current administration. It argues that the government, through its national energy system and its effects on the environment, is depriving the plaintiffs of their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.


Kelsey Juliana, a 22-year-old plaintiff from Eugene, thanked supporters in a statement on Friday while also calling out “exhausting” petitions for stay and dismissal.

“I want to trust that we are truly on track for trial without having further delays, but these defendants are treating this case, our democracy, and the security of mine and future generations like it’s a game,” she said. “To everyone who has invested in this case, to those who’ve followed along our journey for the past three years and counting: stay with us, in hope and in the pursuit of justice.”

The plaintiffs have already filed a request in the District Court to move forward with a trial. The Trump administration may still be able to challenge the suit in the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to Reuters, but a trial will move forward if neither the high court nor 9th Circuit steps in.