The amended complaint of the youth climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, includes a Prayer for Relief stating that “Defendants have violated and are violating Plaintiffs’ fundamental constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property by substantially causing or contributing to a dangerous concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, and that, in so doing, Defendants dangerously interfere with a stable climate system required by our nation and Plaintiffs alike.” In other words, the government isn’t just sitting back while climate change happens, they’re implementing an energy policy that actively contributes to the problem.
Andrea Rogers is Senior Staff Attorney with Our Children’s Trust, an organization working to elevate the voice of youth in an effort to secure the legal right to a stable climate system. Andrea is a graduate of the Arizona State University School of Law, where she served as co-executive editor of Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science and Technology. Her impressive resume includes roles as In-House Legal Counsel for the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe and Staff Attorney for the Western Environmental Law Center. Andrea’s environmental law practice is dedicated to reducing pollution and fighting climate change.
Today, Andrea joins Ross and Christophe to explain why Juliana v. US qualifies as a constitutional law case, sharing the progress of the case to date and discussing how it provides a framework for decarbonization. She describes the nuances of the government’s duty to protect its citizens and counters the argument that the government didn’t know its energy policy contributed to climate change. Andrea also offers insight around the role of public trust doctrine in Juliana v. US, the court’s ability to influence policy, and the government’s defense in the case. Listen in to understand the role of the judiciary in setting new precedent and learn how you can support Our Children’s Trust in furthering this landmark case.
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[1:38] Andrea’s path to reversing climate change
[5:11] The legal flaw of laws passed to protect the environment
[8:20] Why Juliana v. US qualifies as a constitutional law case
[10:29] The argument that the government doesn’t have a duty to protect
[13:10] The argument that the government didn’t know it was contributing to climate change
[15:19] The progress of Juliana v. US to date
[19:10] The cases that inspire Andrea’s team as precedent
[22:50] The role of public trust doctrine in the case of Juliana v. US
[26:54] Why Our Children’s Trust seeks to hold executive agencies liable
[28:37] Andrea’s insight on the court’s ability to influence policy
[29:54] The role of the judicial branch in setting new precedents
[32:27] How Juliana v. US provides a framework for decarbonization
[36:29] The other issues that might use Juliana v. US as precedent
[41:18] The role of the Supreme Court
[44:18] The government’s argument regarding Juliana v. US
[46:00] The grounds on which Our Children’s Trust might lose their case