Juliana v. United States

Climate Change

On 17 January 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed orders of the Oregon District Court and remanded the case with instructions for the District Court to dismiss the case for lack of Article III standing. Two judges on a three-judge panel found the plaintiffs did not establish their claims were redressable by the courts.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs have announced that they will request a full Ninth Circuit review of this decision.

Juliana v. U.S., Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision on interlocutory appeal (17 January 2020).

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Juliana v. United States, Case No. 6:15-cv-01517-TC, Opinion and Order (10 November 2016)
U.S. District Court – District of Oregon

In Juliana v. United States, 21 youth and others challenge decisions of the President of the United States and several federal departments and agencies because those decisions “have substantially caused the planet to warm and the oceans to rise.” (Opinion and Order, pg. 4).  On November 10, 2016, federal District Court Judge Aiken issued an Opinion and Order adopting a magistrate’s Findings and Recommendations and denying the federal government and industry intervenors’ motions to dismiss the case.  Judge Aiken determined the political question doctrine does not apply to this case; the plaintiffs have standing; and the plaintiffs have properly asserted due process and public trust claims. 

Perhaps most importantly, Judge Aiken articulated a new fundamental right, the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life. (Opinion and Order, pgs. 32-33).  She also provided an eloquent and forceful reminder of the judiciary’s role and responsibility to uphold constitutional rights as a co-equal branch of government. 

[See the note above about the January, 2020 decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals]