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On June 4, 2019, a Ninth Circuit panel heard oral argument in a high-profile interlocutory appeal in Juliana v. United States, regarding whether the U.S. Constitution gives rise to cognizable constitutional and federal common law claims against the Executive Branch for actions alleged to cause or contribute to climate change.

The Juliana plaintiffs – most of whom were minor children when the suit was filed in 2015 – argue, inter alia, that the federal government has violated their fundamental right to a stable climate grounded in the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. The plaintiffs also argue that the government has breached its duty to hold the atmosphere in trust under federal common law principles. The federal government argues that the plaintiffs lack standing; that the case is not justiciable in any federal court under Article III of the U.S. Constitution; that the plaintiffs’ claims were not properly brought pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act; and that the plaintiffs have failed to state a claim on the merits upon which relief can be granted.


  • James R. May, Distinguished Professor of Law, Widener University Delaware Law School
  • Damien M. Schiff, Senior Attorney, Pacific Legal Foundation
  • [Moderator] Jonathan H. Adler, Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law; Director, Coleman P. Burke Center for Environmental Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law

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