Judge Tosses Penn. Case, Challenges Legal Merit of Kids Climate Cases says ClimateLiabilityNews, and just like Alsup it's one where the judge has decided that the case is fundamentally politics not law1, and so should be settled by pols not men-in-wigs. The man in a wig is unusually forthright4 in this case: The Clean Air Council and two minors ask me to declare that the United States of America, the President, the Secretaries of Energy and the Interior as well as the Departments themselves, and the Environmental Protection Agency and its Administrator have violated and will violate Plaintiffs’ rights by considering amendments to environmental laws, by “rolling back” environmental regulations, and by making related personnel and budget changes... Plaintiffs thus effectively ask me to supervise any actions the President and his appointees take that might touch on “the environment.” (Id.) Defendants have moved to dismiss... Because I have neither the authority nor the inclination to assume control of the Executive Branch, I will grant Defendants’ Motion.
Before I go too far I should comment on some of the claims made. Sadly it seems to be a non-cut-n-pasteable PDF, so here's a screenshot. Meh. The kid would appear to suffer from medical issues, but the attribution to global warming is weak at best and no basis for a court case. It's kinda irrelevant anyway, though, because as CLN so delicately puts it, the judge "tossed2" the case for more fundamental problems than that.
If you make it as far as para 31 and following, you'll see that they focus on the Trumpkin's "Rollbacks", which they assert are built on and motivated by "junk science", and that the govt has thereby effectively waged war on facts, data, motherhood and apple pie3. These are large claims and look more like rhetoric than sober analysis. You don't find out exactly what they mean by Rollbacks until para 141, BTW.
There appear to be some fairly basic legal errors in the case (IANALTG). On standing, hizzoner says Although the Amended Complaint is almost 200 paragraphs long [are these people getting the hint yet that boilerplate verbiage isn't always great?], only three paragraphs (one page) include a description of Plaintiffs or the harms they have suffered. The Clean Air Council make the schoolboy error of failing to even claim any damages, so have no standing. As to the two individuals, they fail on Traceability: Defendants argue that Plaintiffs: (1) fail to trace their injuries directly to Defendants’ actions; (2) ignore the role that third parties have played in causing such injuries; and (3) improperly aggregate “vaguely-defined categories of government actions and inactions.”... I agree that Plaintiffs have not made out traceability. This is the usual kind of problem. Amusingly, there's also Given that Plaintiffs sustained their injuries as early as 2011, those injuries cannot be traced to Defendants, whose challenged actions began in 2017, which is a bit of a "duh who wrote this complaint" kinda thing.
Perhaps most importantly for elsewhere, there's
Plaintiffs simply ignore that Defendant agencies and officers do not produce greenhouse gases, but act to regulate those third parties that do: innumerable businesses and private industries. The materials on which Plaintiffs rely make this clear.Um, I've said that before. This is going to be the hurdle at which lots of claims fail. After all that there's some stuff about Right to a Life-Sustaining Climate System, about which el wiggo opines The Third Circuit has held that “there is no constitutional right to a pollution-free environment” and then tosses a bomb at Juliana: As of this writing, a single court has recognized a substantive due process right analogous to what Plaintiffs urge here. See Juliana v. United States... Yet, the Juliana Court certainly contravened or ignored longstanding authority. And so we end with it appears that the scope of the “fundamental” right Plaintiffs invoke has no clear limit. This, as much as anything, underscores that Plaintiffs do not seek the Court’s assistance in adjudicating a legal dispute. Rather, Plaintiffs disagreement with Defendants is a policy debate best left to the political process. And I agree. I'm all for a political process that addresses GW - via carbon taxes, not the awful Green New Deal - but it looks more and more like the courts are a dead end. My More bad news for photogenic teens has me musing about where to go.
1. And certainly not about science. Remember how exciting it was, briefly, when "the tutorial" was on? But then the Evil Oil Companies unsportingly put an end to that by agreeing with the IPCC. The rotters! Where's the fun in that?
2. You are, I'm sure, far too sensible to follow a link on "tossed" unless you're of a not-too-delicate disposition. It's one of my all-time favourite Viz cartoons.
3. Yes, I made a little bit of that up. See if you can guess which.
4. Indeed there are hints that he is a little pissed of, speaking of their lengthy, two count Amended Complaint. Perhaps this could be taken as a hint that not everyone needs to go over the same basic science again and again.
* Old suing: Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp.