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Powers speaks about Julianna vs. United States

November 01, 2018

  • Melissa Powers
    Copyright, Steve Hambuchen

On Oregon Public Radio, October 26, Lewis & Clark Law School professor Melissa Powers discussed Juliana v United States, the case of 21 young plaintiffs suing the federal government for infringing on the plaintiffs’ rights to a healthy, livable future.

“They [the plaintiffs] are asking for the federal government to develop a plan to eliminate fossil fuels from our energy system so that we can turn to carbon-free energy sources,” said Powers.

The trial had been scheduled to begin in Eugene, Oregon on Monday, but the Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay based on the the federal government’s request for a writ of mandamus, “an intermediary intervention by the higher courts, asking those courts to step in and prevent the district court from moving forward,” clarified Powers.

“The general rule when you’re trying to show that you’re entitled to this type of extraordinary remedy is to show that the federal government would suffer some type of irreparable harm associated with continuing through the case.” Powers explained that the federal government is asking the Supreme Court to determine that the claims made by the plaintiffs are so ambitious–asking for remedies beyond those that should be administered by the courts–and thus the suit should not follow the normal legal procedure. Powers also comments on the impact of the two new Trump-appointed Justices and their potential impact on this ruling. Listen to the full segment on OPB’s site here.

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