Rodgers and other pro bono lawyers represent youth around the nation in constitutional climate lawsuits against state and federal governments.
Their complaints allege that governments have known about the dangers of climate change for half a century, yet have continued to promote fossil fuel energy systems, which contribute heavily to climate change.
“Through the government's affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources,” reads the complaint for the federal lawsuit, Juliana v. United States.
Twenty-one young people from Florida, Oregon, Colorado, New York, Hawaii, Louisiana, Arizona, Alaska, Washington and Pennsylvania are named as plaintiffs in the case.
Additionally, seven members of Congress, religious and women’s groups, medical doctors, the Union of Concerned Scientists and more than 32,000 people under the age of 25 showed their support for the case in the form of amicus briefs, lawyer lingo for letters of support.
Both the Obama and Trump administrations have tried to get the case dismissed since it was first filed more than four years ago. Lawyers for the Trump administration argue that climate change should be handled through the political process, not through the courts.
“No federal court has ever permitted an action that seeks to review decades of agency action (and alleged inaction) by a dozen federal agencies and executive offices — all in pursuit of a policy goal,” reads the defendant’s court brief.
But, Rodgers disagrees. The court of law is probably one of the best venues to fight climate change, she said.
“Because in the courtroom, there is no fake news.”
That would be perjury.