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Juliana v. United States

947 F.3d 1159 (2020)

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Juliana v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

947 F.3d 1159 (2020)

Facts

Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana, along with 20 other individuals, an environmental organization, and a representative for future generations (collectively, the activists) (plaintiffs) filed an action in federal district court against the president of the United States and multiple government agencies (collectively, the government) (defendant). The activists claimed that the government had violated several of their constitutional rights, including their substantive-due-process and equal-protection rights, by failing to reduce the country’s use of fossil fuels despite knowing the harmful effect on climate change. The activists claimed that the government’s actions violated their right to a climate able to sustain life, which had resulted in psychological harm, the exacerbation of certain medical conditions, and harm to recreational interests. The activists introduced evidence that the government had subsidized private companies that extracted fossil fuels, that carbon dioxide emissions needed to be rapidly and immediately reduced, and that a total infrastructure transformation was needed to combat climate change. The activists requested that the court redress their injuries by declaring the government’s actions unconstitutional and issuing an injunction requiring the government to prohibit the use of fossil fuels and establish an action plan subject to judicial approval. The government moved to dismiss for lack of standing. The district court denied the motion. The government then moved for summary judgment, which the court granted for some claims but not others. The government appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hurwitz, J.)

Dissent (Staton, J.)

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