President Donald Trump should be immune from facing a lawsuit by a group of teenagers accusing the federal government of doing little to nothing to combat climate change, according to the Justice Department.
In a last ditch effort to dismiss the case before an October trial in Oregon, the government argues that the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine generally prohibits federal courts from forcing the president into action.
“Under unbroken legal authority dating back more than 150 years, the separation ofpowers generally bars federal courts from issuing an injunction against the President of the United States for official acts,” Justice Department said in a filing. ”Notably, plaintiffs do not identify a single executive action attributable to the President alone.”
Lawyers for the teens said they expect Trump to assert a sort of “sovereign immunity,” while arguing he shouldn’t be excused for failing in his official capacity to protect the environment from rising global temperatures while subsidizing fossil fuel-dependent industries.
The Obama and Trump administrations have each tried earlier, unsuccessfully, to get the case thrown out. A hearing on the government’s latest arguments is set for May 26.