Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor has joined a 17-state coalition of attorneys general to intervene in Juliana v. United States, a lawsuit brought on behalf of 21 children, which states that their constitutional rights are being violated by climate change and government policies that do not stop climate change.
The youth, who say their rights to life, liberty, and property is being violated, are scheduled to be in court for oral arguments on a legal motion on June 25 in a case that has dragged on for over five years. Earth Guardians is the youths’ legal team.
The 17 attorneys general have moved to intervene after both Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump administrations sought to have the case dismissed, arguing that the U.S. Constitution gives the judicial branch no such policy-making power, which resides exclusively in the legislative and executive branches.
The Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed with the federal government’s position and in early 2020, ordered the district court to dismiss the case. The court said that the matters should be addressed by the executive and legislative branches, not the courts.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon failed to dismiss the case. Now, the Biden administration is preparing to have settlement talks with the plaintiffs after a U.S. District Court judge ordered attorneys for the plaintiffs and the Department of Justice to convene for a settlement conference.
The court also scheduled oral argument on the youth plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint, to be held telephonically on Friday, June 25, 2021 .
When judging a similar lawsuit in Kanuk v. State of Alaska in 2014, the Alaska Supreme Court reached the same conclusion as the Ninth Circuit, that it is inappropriate and unlawful for courts to hear this type of case.
“Both the Ninth Circuit and the Alaska Supreme Court have already decided that this type of lawsuit is outside of any court’s jurisdiction,” said Attorney General Taylor. “With the change in federal administration and its recent litigation positions, there is a significant chance the current federal defendant will not adequately represent Alaska’s interest in bringing this case to its already-decided close.”
Alaska, joined Alabama and Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia, in filing the motion to intervene.