February 18 2019
EUGENE, Oregon— The US government has once again asked a judge to stop legal proceedings in a climate change lawsuit filed by a group of young people scheduled for trial in Oregon later this month.
US attorneys filed a motion last week in federal court in Eugene, requesting a stay pending a review of the case by the U.S. Supreme Court.
"A brief stay to allow the Supreme Court to consider whether a lawsuit is the appropriate means to address climate change will not appreciably harm plaintiffs," the motion states.
If a judge at the district court level does not agree to halt proceedings, the government plans to ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay sometime this week, according to the motion.
Both the 9th Circuit and the Supreme Court declined in July to intervene in the case, after reviewing government requests to do so.
In a news release, Julia Olson, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers, called the government's latest request a "redundant motion" and "a show of fear."
Another attorney for the young people, Philip Gregory, said he is "doubtful" Brett Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court would make it more likely that the case is dismissed at this stage, "given the fact that Justice (Anthony) Kennedy and the rest of the court, less than three months ago, determined the case should proceed forward to trial."
A group of 21 young people filed the suit in 2015, arguing that the federal government's actions violate their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, and the government has violated its obligation to hold certain natural resources in trust for future generations.
The case is part of an effort led by the Oregon-based nonprofit Our Children's Trust to force governments to take action on climate change.