A three judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments Monday in a case brought by 21 youths against the federal government over climate change. The Trump Administration is seeking to quash the case before it goes to trial.
The administration is asking the appeals court for a writ of Mandamus to reverse a Eugene district judge’s decision to allow the lawsuit to go forward.
Citing a previous case, Justice Department attorney Eric Grant told the appeals court the ruling offends the separation of powers clause of the constitution by exceeding its jurisdiction.
He got a strong response from Judge Marsha Berzon and Chief Judge Sidney Thomas.
Berzon: “Do you know how many cases we would have if we had believed that on mandamus? Hundreds. Every day.
Grant: No, your honor. I don’t think you would have those cases…
Thomas: Oh, there’s no question we would. If you allow people to come into court because they’re displeased with a district court denial of a motion to dismiss. I mean that’s just the plain fact.”
The judges also asked tough questions of attorney Julia Olson, who represents the 21 youth plaintiffs. The panel is expected to issue a decision in the coming weeks. A trial date for the climate lawsuit had been set for early February.