Supreme Court won't block children's climate change lawsuit

By Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter

(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 administration had asked the court to halt the lawsuit, saying it was "misguided" and a "radical invasion of the separation of powers."

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, Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch said they would have ruled in favor of the administration.

"The court went out of its way to stress that the government can still try to stop this case from going forward," said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and a professor at the University of Texas law school. "The court appears to have coalesced around a narrow compromise to defuse, for the moment, major litigation against the Trump 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 on October 29, but that date was put on hold after Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary stay. 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."

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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