On Friday, Chief Justice Roberts signed an Order halting discovery and the trial scheduled to begin October 29 in Juliana v. United States, granting the Trump Administration’s request for a stay pending its application for a writ of mandamus to the District of Oregon. The stay was granted pending receipt of responses due on or before Wednesday October 24 by 3:00 PM and any further order of the Supreme Court. Justice Roberts was responsible for signing the order since prior to the reorganization over the weekend of circuit assignments following the arrival of Justice Kavanaugh, Chief Justice Roberts took over responsibility for hearing emergency requests and routine applications for the Ninth Circuit (Justice Kagan will now be responsible for the Ninth Circuit).
Juliana is the landmark climate change lawsuit led by a group of young adults who argue that the federal government is violating their Constitutional rights by exacerbating climate change through its energy policies. The suit requests a science-based approach to energy policy that will reduce carbon emissions and protect the climate for enjoyment by future generations. The lawsuit was originally filed back in 2015 and has survived a number of attempts to derail it throughout the past three years. A previous request by the Trump Administration to the Supreme Court in July was rejected and it appeared as though the case might actually be headed to trial, with a court date set for the end of the month. Julia Olson, co-counsel for the plaintiffs, stated that she is confident “once Chief Justice Roberts and the full Court receive the youth plaintiffs’ response to defendants’ mischaracterization of their case, the trial will proceed.”*
*Karen Savage, Supreme Court Grants Government’s Extraordinary Appeal, Pauses Kids Climate Case, Climate Liability News (Oct. 19, 2018) available at: https://www.climateliabilitynews.org/2018/10/19/supreme-court-kids-climate-case-roberts/