Rally in the Square: Juliana v. United States Climate Change Lawsuit
If the world’s government doesn’t acknowledge climate change and initiate a transition to clean energy sources by 2035, the Earth will pass a point of no return. A case known as Juliana vs. United States asserts that, through the government’s affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources. The lawsuit hopes to phase out carbon dioxide emissions to a certain level by 2100 and develop a national climate recovery plan. Juliana v United States was originally filed in 2015 against the Obama Administration, but it now targets the Trump administration. The case was filed by 21 young plaintiffs, with ages ranging from 11-22 years old and is the first to recognize the constitutional right to a safe climate.
The case has been faced with obstacles with the fossil fuel industry intervening. On Oct. 19, 10 days before the trial was scheduled to being, the Justice Department lawyers in the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a temporary, administrative stay. This, as well as several other interventions by higher courts, have kept this case in limbo, not knowing if it would ever see the light of day again. Rallies at federal courthouses all over the nation was the result.
One of these rallies took place on Tuesday, Oct. 30, in front of the Williamson County Courthouse. Members of SEAK (Students for Environmental Activism & Knowledge), as well as the student body, faculty, and Georgetown community got together and rallied in front of the Williamson County Courthouse because of this. The rally consisted of petitions that anyone could sign that would be hand delivered personally to congress. As well as speeches from the Co-Presidents of SEAK, Leah Horick and Chandler Hyatt. It was an open mic rally, meaning that anyone who wished to speak, could at any moment. In those speeches we were able to discuss the importance of the case and its urgency.
As of the time this article was published the youth case, for the second time, has been given the green light to go to trial. The United States Supreme Court denied the Trump administration’s application for the stay in the landmark constitutional climate lawsuit. On the afternoon of Nov. 2, 2018, immediately after receiving the order of the Supreme Court, plaintiffs filed a request in the District Court asking for an immediate status conference to get Juliana v. United States back on track for trial.
For more information, please visit www.youthvgov.org
Sherlyn Ong also wrote a breakdown of the climate change report on the Megaphone
If you didn’t get a chance to sign a petition at the rally, I encourage you do so right now. This petition will be delivered to The Federal Courts, President Donald Trump, The United States House of Representatives, and the United States Senate.