At a time when a majority of Americans are confused and potentially losing hope in what they thought was the America that they knew, this court decision shines light into a particularly dark political landscape.
In 2015 a group of 21 young people ages 8 - 19 filed a lawsuit against the US Government in the US District Court of Oregon. On April 8, 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin ruled in favor of the young Plaintiffs and denied the government and fossil fuel industry's motions to dismiss the case. The ruling from Judge Coffin was a major victory for the Plaintiffs, and it has been under review by U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken, who heard oral arguments on September 13, 2016.
As of yesterday, November 10, 2016, Judge Aiken released her ruling on whether the case should move forward to trial. In another landmark decision, Judge Aiken of the US District Court of Oregon dismissed the arguments of the US Government and Fossil Fuel agencies and decided that the youth plaintiffs' constitutional and public trust claims can proceed.
Some salient points from Judge Aiken's ruling are:
The young plaintiffs are suing the federal government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, and their rights to vital public trust resources, by locking in a fossil-fuel based national energy system for more than five decades with full knowledge of the extreme dangers it posed. This federal case is one of many related legal actions brought by youth in several states and countries, all supported by Our Children’s Trust, seeking science-based action by governments to stabilize the climate system.
At a time when the future of America's participation in fighting climate change is in question, this decision by the US District Court offers hope.
For more on this campaign, check out their website here: www.ourchildren'strust.org
Article by: Rajmani Sinclair
November 11, 2016