Federal Judge Will Hear Teen Climate Case

Apr 8, 2016

A federal magistrate judge in Eugene Friday ruled that a lawsuit brought by 21 teens against the federal government can go to trial. The youth say their constitutional rights are being violated by the government’s inaction on climate change.

Youths suing the government outside Eugene Federal Courthouse after hearing on climate case.
Credit Rachael McDonald

Judge Thomas Coffin rejected a request by the federal government’s attorneys to dismiss the case. In his ruling, Coffin calls it an “unprecedented lawsuit” He says the government action and inaction on climate change, quote: “allegedly threatens catastrophic consequences which have already begun and will progressively worsen in the near future.” End quote
Mary Christina Wood is a professor at the University of Oregon School of Law. She says the ruling is historic.
“Basically, what the court is saying is that the government must come into court and defend against these allegations that the government has taken action to put the youth in extreme danger including actions that literally impair their potential survival.”
Federal Judge Ann Aiken must review Judge Coffin’s ruling before a trial can be scheduled. Attorneys with Our Children’s Trust, which brought the lawsuit, hope it will be soon.

Read U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin's ruling