A Montana judge ruled that the constitutional climate lawsuit brought by 16 Montana youth must proceed to trial on the young people’s claims that the Montana government is unconstitutionally contributing to the climate crisis!
This historic decision by District Court Judge Kathy Seeley means that the youth plaintiffs in Held v. State of Montana will now have the opportunity to present their evidence in open court. That evidence will prove that by supporting a fossil fuel-driven energy system, the state of Montana causes and contributes to dangerous levels of greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore is responsible for the climate-related injuries the youth suffer in violation of their rights under the Montana constitution.
In her landmark decision, the judge ruled against the state’s vigorous efforts to prevent the case from proceeding to trial. See press release here.
Congratulations, young Montana leaders!
This ruling is not just a victory for these and other young Montanans. This ruling represents a turning of the tide, with still another U.S. court exercising its vital judicial authority to declare the constitutional responsibilities of governments relative to energy policy and the climate crisis. For years, the executive and legislative branches of government have aggressively and recklessly perpetuated a fossil-fuel based energy system, knowing all the while the existential dangers their affirmative actions would cause.
Yesterday, the Montana court joined others, including courts in Washington, Texas, Oregon, and Colorado, and stepped in to exercise the court’s role to declare the constitutional boundaries of what governments must and must not do when it comes to the climate crisis. This is a watershed moment for all science-based youth climate lawsuits supported by Our Children’s Trust here in the U.S. around the globe, including Juliana v. United States, La Rose v. Her Majesty the Queen, Sagoonick v. Alaska and many more.
For many years, we at Our Children’s Trust have been rigorously advancing youths’ rights to have this science-based and historic evidence heard at trial, in open court. In every jurisdiction where we have brought legal action on behalf of youth to secure a safe climate, the government defendants have fought tooth and nail to keep that evidence hidden away.
Why are our governments so afraid of having the evidence heard? Because they know it will prove that they have been affirmatively perpetuating energy and climate policies they have known all along to be violative of children’s constitutional rights!
As the Montana case proceeds to trial – and as we expect Juliana and several of our other state and global cases to do so as well – more than ever we need your wholehearted support. These trials will be long, they will be thorough, and they will be science- and fact-based, bringing world-class experts before the judges. And we are confident the youth will prevail as a result.
As wildfires, droughts, floods, landslides, disease, ocean acidification and other catastrophic consequences of our governments’ actions perpetuating the climate crisis increase around the globe, please make a donation today to help us prepare for these trials and to defend children’s constitutional rights to a safe climate!
Thank you for your long-standing support! You have empowered our stamina and resilience to date, and your continued support will fuel our progress toward the finish lines. Thank you all.
The Team at Our Children’s Trust