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U.S. Supreme Court allows youth climate lawsuit to move forward

The trial was scheduled to begin in Eugene just a few days ago.

Posted: Nov 2, 2018 7:44 PM
Updated: Nov 2, 2018 7:51 PM

EUGENE, Ore. (CNN) – The Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration's request Friday to stop a lawsuit brought by youths who are seeking to hold the government accountable for failing to do enough to fight climate change.

The trial was scheduled to begin in Eugene Oct. 29. The plaintiffs have now asked for an immediate status conference to set a new date for the trial.

RELATED: Protesters gather for climate change rally in Eugene

In its unsigned order, the court said the administration had not reached the high bar necessary to halt the lawsuit for now. But the justices suggested that the government might be able to seek relief at the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals at a later stage of the litigation.

The vote total was not released, but Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch said they would have ruled in favor of the administration.

The challengers argued that by neglecting to properly address climate change, the government is depriving them of rights to life, liberty and property while also failing to protect essential resources.

A district court had allowed the case to go to trial, but that was put on hold after Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary stay.

READ MORE: U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halts Eugene youth climate trial

Lawyers for the youths originally brought the case under the Obama administration and are asking the court to order the executive branch to prepare a remedial plan to phase out fossil fuel emissions.

"These young Plaintiffs, mere children and youth, are already suffering irreparable harm which worsens as each day passes with more carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere and oceans," the lawyers wrote.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco asked the justices to halt any further discovery and the pending trial while the government files appeals with the high court.

In his filing, Francisco lambasted the suit, calling it "an attempt to redirect federal environmental and energy policies through the courts rather than through the political process, by asserting a new and unsupported fundamental due process right to certain climate conditions."

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