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Trump Administration Asks Supreme Court To Block Teens' Lawsuit On Climate Change

October 19, 2018 - 4:42 pm
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WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/AP) -- President Donald Trump’s administration has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop a lawsuit from teenagers that seeks to force the federal government to take steps against climate change.

The teens’ complaint asserts that through the government’s affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generations’ rights to life, liberty, and property.

As Bloomberg Reporter Laurie Asseo explained to WCBS 880’s Joe Avellar, the Trump administration says the issue is one of jurisdiction.

“Well, the government is saying that this kind of lawsuit; this kind of claim is not for courts to decide; that this is an issue that should be decided by the executive branch – the president – and Congress. The courts are not supposed to be getting involved in making this kind of decision… and so the Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to block this lawsuit, which is set to start on trial October 29 in Oregon,” Asseo said.

The lawsuit was filed in 2015. The minors said their generation will bear the brunt of global warming and that government at every level has an obligation to protect natural resources, including the atmosphere, as a "public trust" for future generations.

At that time, the Oregon-based nonprofit Our Children's Trust led efforts to file lawsuits or administrative petitions in every state and against the federal government.

The teens have already won to big victories in their case, as a magistrate and a district court judge have already denied motions to dismiss.

“The Trump administration came to the Supreme Court earlier this year – I think it was in July – asking the court to block the case, and the court rejected that as premature, but the justices did hint about some skepticism about the lawsuit, saying that the breadth of the claims by the children and teenagers was striking,” Asseo said.

There is no deadline for the Supreme Court to act, but the fact that the case is set to go to trial a week from Monday is a factor.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)