U.S. Supreme Court - The FindLaw U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Summaries Blog

Youth Climate Change Lawsuit Put on Hold

In a one-paragraph order, Chief Justice John Roberts has put the climate change case of the decade on hold.

The big climate change case being brought by a group of children was slated to go to trial in a week, but it looks like the federal government just succeeded in derailing the train of experts and testimony that was expected to shock the world with facts about climate science and government accountability or the lack thereof. And while all hope is not quite lost yet that a trial will still happen, given the makeup of the new Court and issues at play here, the case may be politically doomed.

A Snowball's Chance on Earth

For the children in the case, the Chief Justice did seem to leave a door open, but it's highly unlikely to see the trial to proceed as scheduled. The stay he ordered is temporary, pending the High Court's receipt of plaintiffs' response to the government's request, and the Court's consideration.

The government vehemently asserts that the case should be wholly dismissed as the plaintiffs' case relies upon a fundamental right that is not actually a fundamental right. Notably, both the district and appellate court have already rejected this argument and have refused to dismiss the case.

The government seems to raise a novel argument in the alternative to dismissal, in support of an extension. It asserts that since the plaintiffs are claiming harm occurred over a time period of several decades, that there is no irreparable harm as a result of delaying trial and discovery.

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