• Mar 12, 2020

Law School Race Centers Urge Rehearing En Banc in Children’s Climate Change Litigation

Today we joined the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law; Aoki Center for Critical Race and Nation Studies at UC Davis School of Law; Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law at NYU School of Law; and Howard University Environmental Justice Center in an amicus brief before the Ninth Circuit requesting rehearing en banc in Juliana v. United States, the children’s climate change case. We contributed to this brief in particular recognition that climate change disproportionately affects communities of color through forces of neglect, toxicity, and environmental racism.

The coalition brief supports and expands on the youth plaintiffs’ argument that the full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals should review the January decision because federal courts have power to redress the plaintiffs’ claimed constitutional injury. Courts have long found standing satisfied in cases involving the civil rights of disempowered communities and communities of color seeking redress of significant governmental harms that require institutional change as a remedy.

We illustrate that beginning with Brown v. Board of Education, a wave of de-segregation cases and thousands of institutional reform cases involving injunctive relief have been overseen by courts over the past half century. Broad remedial power must be exercised to redress constitutional violations that realistically cannot be vindicated through the political process and to preserve courts’ ability to protect civil rights. Both the structural injunction and the oversight of consent decrees are vital tools in cases involving discrimination and disempowered communities. We urge the full Ninth Circuit to consider the practical effects of a rigidly narrow view of the redressability component of standing on this line of cases.

Read the brief: