The Biden administration recently argued in a court filing that Americans do not have a constitutional right to a stable climate. They are trying to protect the fossil fuel industry from a lawsuit that was filed years ago, even as the country witnesses record-breaking temperatures and climate change-related catastrophes. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: The Biden administration recently argued in a court filing that Americans don’t have a constitutional right, wow, now listen to that. Americans don’t have a constitutional right to a safe, stable climate, that they’re trying to protect the fossil fuel industry. Now, this is the, again, this is Garland. You understand? This is his department. He’s sending lawyers in and we’ve talked about, remember when he was up for Supreme Court?

Farron Cousins: Yep.

Mike Papantonio: We said, this guy is in the pocket of corporate America every time you turn around. So now he’s serving as Attorney General, and he’s doing the bidding of Biden, and going and saying that these kids that are bringing these lawsuits that are having a big effect, Montana, Utah, Hawaii, all of a sudden we’re seeing something happen. In comes his, Biden’s Attorney General to say, wait a second, there’s no constitutional right to be healthy. Right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. It truly is just this absolute, I don’t even wanna say it’s Orwellian because this is just so much worse than that. This government, through this filing, is literally telling the country, you don’t have a right to clean air. You don’t have a right to clean water. You don’t have a right to not get respiratory illness from all of this pollution. You have no right to health is what this is. And you know, on the Merrick Garland issue, you and I, we got a lot of people angry back in the day because we talked about.

Mike Papantonio: Who cares?

Farron Cousins: We talked about the fact specifically that Merrick Garland was horrible about environmental issues. I remember doing these segments with you and everybody said, no, he was so much better than Scalia. Well, look, a potato is better than Scalia was. But that doesn’t mean we ever have to settle. And that’s the problem, is we settle far too often. When we could have great, but we’ll say, you know what? Not the worst is good enough. No, it’s not good enough on the issue of climate change. We can’t have Biden coming out there saying, oh, well, I know climate change is bad. We’re investing in renewable energy. But then at the same time, they’re pushing these pipelines for more dirty energy. This is not an environmental president, folks.

Mike Papantonio: You’re gonna love this argument. When you really follow this, read everything, this is their argument. One of their arguments, along with saying, hey, these kids don’t have a right to have a stable climate. They don’t have the right to protect themselves against these fools that are destroying the planet. This is the other argument. The Biden administration on June 22nd’s court filing, the Justice Department lawyers argued that because the, listen to this, the child plaintiffs are not the only people who are gonna be seriously harmed by the ecological breakdown, that the suit should be thrown out. Now process that, process that just a minute. They’re, along with saying you don’t have a constitutional right to protect yourself, kids from the future, inevitable future. But you also, this fails because, eh, you’re only one class of people and you don’t represent every class of people. This is Garland’s Department of Justice making these arguments and putting it down in writing. I don’t even know how to, hell, I don’t even know how to respond.

Farron Cousins: Well, it’s also an admission that, yeah, hey, we are destroying the environment. So what do they want? Do they want the entire country to sign on as a co-plaintiff on this lawsuit? I’ll sign, give me a piece of paper, I’ll sign and join on. And you can’t make that argument that not everybody’s there.

Mike Papantonio: You wanna know who their partners are in the argument. Koch Industries, American, these are people signing off as, yeah, we agree with what you’re saying. The Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute, Valero Energy, Exxon, these are showing up as amicus briefs on behalf of the position that Biden administration has taken that these people have no right, no constitutional right. These kids have no constitutional right to protect the planet, to save the planet that they’re left with, that we’ve frigging destroyed and put into a fireball.

Farron Cousins: Right. And most of these people that are making these decisions at the DOJ, y’all aren’t gonna be here to see the worst effect, well, no, I take that back because guess what, we’re living in the worst effects of it right now. It’s only gonna get worse. I mean, we have a climate emergency, whether it’s the tropical storm in California, fires in Hawaii, the heat dome that we’ve been under for a month and a half.

Mike Papantonio: You think everybody’s noticed that, by the way? Yeah. Okay. So you got what I love about it, the movement for these kids is being spearheaded by this nonprofit public interest, Our Children’s Trust. And it’s saying, look, the adults aren’t in the room now, so it’s up to the kids. And in Hawaii, it’s worked. In Montana, it’s worked. The state district judge Kathy Seeley, I love this woman. She said, every additional ton of greenhouse gas emissions exacerbates the risk and ultimately will kill these kids. And so the truth is they got the high ground and the US Justice Department, ah, nah. You don’t have a constitutional right to protect your health.

Farron Cousins: Also just worth pointing out, another wonderful story, this one is from The Lever. I always like to give them a shout out because they’re such a great organization.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. L E V E R, go online and look at it. We get, sometimes we get criticism, they say, where do you get these stories, man? I can’t. Well, people don’t look for ’em. You know, if it’s not on MSNBC at night, or CNN or Fox News, they don’t even look for it. And so The Lever, if you want to cut through all the waste of time, go to The Lever.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.