Juliana V. U.s.

JULIANA v. U.S.

JULIANA v. U.S.

Juliana v. U.S. is a stunning landmark lawsuit filed in 2015 by 21 young people who claim that the government’s actions, and inaction, in the face of global warming violate their “fundamental constitutional rights to freedom from deprivation of life, liberty, and property.” Dubbed the climate “trial of the century,” the case has overcome a multitude of hurdles but has yet to come to trial.

How old are the kids?

The children were between the ages of eight and 18 when the suit was filed. Now between 15 and 25, the majority of them can vote.

Key details as the years have gone by

  • A list of court orders and additional information can be found at Our Children’s Trust, the non-profit responsible for this and many other youth climate cases across the country, including Held v. State of Montana – the first ever children’s constitutional climate trial in the U.S.. Julia Olson is their Chief Legal Counsel.

  • A youth led climate justice organization, Zero Hour, launched a drive in February 2019, to support this lawsuit. In eleven days 30,000 young people added their names to a Young People’s Brief in Support of the Juliana plaintiffs. This “friend of the court” brief was filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on March 1, 2019.

  • On January 17, 2020, a divided federal court, having heard the case in June 2019, concluded that the plaintiffs did not have standing. Our Children’s Trust filed briefs on March 12, 2020 urging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to convene a new panel of 11 circuit court judges to review the January ruling.

    On February 10, 2021, the Ninth Circuit voted not to rehear the case. Their reasoning was that the youth plaintiffs were asking the courts to do things that only the legislative and executive branches can do. They threw them out on the doctrine of standing.

  • Subsequently, the plaintiffs went back to the District Court in Oregon to Judge Ann Aiken, who issued the original ruling, for permission to file an amended complaint and have their evidence heard in open court. She granted that request on June 1, 2023.

  • On June 8, 2021, Youth v Gov reported that 17 Republican state attorneys general have filed a motion to intervene in the Juliana case to oppose the Motion to Amend filed by the plaintiffs in March. That motion was denied on March 15, 2023.

What is the current status of the Juliana v. United States?

On January 18, 2024 the DOJ submitted yet another petition to the Ninth Circuit Court (its seventh) to dismiss the case, which legal experts say is unheard of in American civil litigation.

On December 29, 2023, federal district Judge Ann L. Aiken in Oregon issued a ruling that put Juliana back on a path towards trial. “The judiciary is capable and duty bound to provide redress for the irreparable harm government fossil fuel production has caused.” Her opinion denied the DOJ’s latest bid to dismiss the case.

On June 23, 2023 the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed another motion to dismiss the youth-led case, one day after an online petition, signed by more than 255 organizations and 50,000 individuals, was delivered to the DOJ, urging Attorney General Garland to end opposition to the Juliana case proceeding to trial. Ironically, two days after Our Children’s Trust lawyers concluded trial in Held v. State of Montana – the first ever children’s constitutional climate trial in the U.S. A ruling in that case is expected in July, 2023.

Hold your breath…

The timeline below marks all the major events from the first filing to the present.

FYI: 

  • Much has been written about this case. The stunning political analyst, Joel Stronberg has been covering the lawsuit in his blogs, off and on since 2018. They are so worth reading: November 2, 2018February 12, 2019January 21,/2020February 16, 2021July 28, 2021 and, again on June 12,2023 which will surely not be the last. FYI: It was written before the DOJ denial.

  • Dana Drugmand wrote an utterly exceptional wrap up of the case for the brilliant Drilled on 2/23/2024. She, too, tried and faild, to understand why the Biden administration’s DOJ is hell bent on stopping Juliana from ever reaching a courtroom.

  • And a film was produced in 2021. Hailed as a superhero movie, the feature documentary YOUTH v GOV follows these 21 young Americans suing the world’s most powerful government to protect their constitutional rights to a stable climate. Available on Netflix.

TIMELINE

    • US District Judge Ann Aiken denies government’s bid

      A federal district court judge in Oregon issued a ruling that put this landmark youth constitutional climate lawsuit against the federal government firmly back on path towards trial. “The judiciary is capable and duty-bound to provide redress for the irreparable harm government fossil fuel production has caused. Her opinion denies the government’s latest bid to toss out the 2015 Juliana v. United States case…

      More Here

      12/29/2023

      US District Judge Ann Aiken denies government’s bid

    • U.S. Department of Justice filed another motion of June 22 to dismiss the case.

      Two days after Our Children’s Trust lawyers concluded trial in Held v. State of Montana – the first ever children’s constitutional climate trial in the U.S. – the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed another motion on June 22 to dismiss the youth-led Juliana v…

      More Here

      06/23/2023

      U.S. Department of Justice filed another motion of June 22 to dismiss the case.

    • Youth climate plaintiffs cite novel precedent: SCOTUS’s landmark abortion ruling

      Young people who claim the federal government is violating their rights through fossil fuel-friendly policies that contribute to climate change on Tuesday cited a novel precedent to argue their lawsuit needs to go to trial: The recent landmark Supreme Court decision rolling back abortion rights.

      More Here

      10/12/2022

      Youth climate plaintiffs cite novel precedent: SCOTUS’s landmark abortion ruling

    • Petition Demands Biden DOJ ‘End Opposition to Youth Climate Justice’

      In a clear show of support for the youth who have been fighting for a landmark U.S. constitutional climate case since 2015, the People vs. Fossil Fuels coalition this week launched a petition urging the Biden administration to “end its opposition to Juliana v. United States proceeding to trial.”

      More Here

      06/09/2022

      Petition demands Biden DOJ ‘End Opposition to Youth Climate Justice’

    • Participating in settlement negotiations & awaiting rulings on Motion forLeave to FIle a Second Amended Complaint and the Motion to Intervene

      Settlement negotiations between the youth plaintiffs, their attorneys and the DOJ with Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Coffin are ongoing. The youth plaintiffs are also awaiting a ruling on their Motion for Leave to File a…

      09/07/2021

      TODAY

    • Attorneys general in 6 states & NRDC file amicus briefs in support of the youth plaintiffs

      Attorneys for the youth plaintiffs also file a brief opposing the intervention motion of 18 Republican states who seek to dismiss the case.

      07/07/2022

      6 States & NRDC file briefs in support & attorneys file brief opposing intervenors

    • Attorneys for the youth plaintiffs and the DOJ present oral arguments in front of Judge Aiken

      06/25/2021

      Oral Arguments on Motion to Amend

    • The Ninth Circuit Upholds Panel Decision

      The Ninth Circuit fails to correct the legal errors in March 2020’s panel decision and upholds the panel’s ruling. A judge requested a vote on whether to rehear the case, but a majority of judges…

      More Here

      02/10/2021

      The Ninth Circuit upholds the panel’s ruling.

    • Landmark Children’s Climate Lawsuit Hits New Roadblock

      Judge Ann Aiken issued an order certifying Juliana v. United States for interlocutory appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In staying the case pending a decision by the Ninth Circuit, Judge Aiken maintained…

      More Here

      11/21/2018

      Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to decide Whether Juliana vs. United States Goes to trial

    • Supreme Court Refuses to Halt Kids Climate Case

      The Supreme Court denied the federal government’s request to halt discovery and the trial in the youth climate lawsuit Juliana v. United States. The court’s rejection means the case will likely proceed to trial on…

      More Here

      07/30/2018

      Supreme Court rules in favor of Youth

    • Kids clear key hurdle in their federal climate change lawsuit

      Judge Thomas Coffin of the District Court in Eugene, Oregon, ruled in favor of the Youths, characterizing the case as an “unprecedented lawsuit” addressing “government action and inaction” resulting “in carbon pollution of the atmosphere,…

      More Here

      04/08/2016

      Motions to dismiss denied