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Youths’ Climate Change Lawsuit Against US Government Could Still Go To Trial

School children hold a placard reading
School children hold a placard reading "CHANGE" during the Youth Climate Strike

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A lawyer for young people who are suing the U.S. government over climate change says federal energy policy “puts children in harm’s way” and denies them the constitutional rights to life, liberty and property.

Attorney Julia Olson urged three judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to let the young people’s lawsuit move forward. The judges heard arguments for Juliana v. United States on Tuesday in Portland but aren’t expected to rule right away.

A U.S. Justice Department lawyer previously argued that the plaintiffs wrongly want the courts to direct energy policy instead of elected officials. The Obama and Trump administrations have tried to get the lawsuit dismissed since it was filed in 2015.

It asks the courts to declare federal energy policy that contributes to global warming unconstitutional. We get the latest on the case and discuss legal challenges.

With files from the Associated Press


Julia Rosen, science reporter for the Los Angeles Times writing from Portland, Ore.; she tweets at @ScienceJulia

Philip L. Gregory, a lead attorney representing the plaintiffs 

Donald Kochan, law professor at Chapman University where his expertise includes Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, and Natural Resources & Environmental Law