Supreme Court Delays Climate Litigation Amid Big Oil's High-Stakes Battle

Sophia Moonstone

Updated Tuesday, June 11, 2024 at 6:07 AM CDT

Supreme Court Delays Climate Litigation Amid Big Oil's High-Stakes Battle

In a significant move, the Supreme Court has asked the Biden administration to weigh in on big oil’s request to halt litigation that could potentially cost them billions of dollars. This one-line order effectively delays the trial proceedings, a move that follows intense pressure from far-right fossil fuel allies on the court.

Richard Wiles, president of the Center for Climate Integrity, emphasized that oil companies are fighting to avoid trials in lawsuits such as Honolulu’s, which aim to expose the fossil fuel industry’s alleged climate deceptions. Honolulu is one of dozens of cities and states suing major oil companies, accusing them of hiding the dangers of their products from the public. Notably, Hawaii’s Supreme Court had ruled in October 2022 that Honolulu's suit could proceed to trial.

However, the defendants petitioned the US Supreme Court in February, arguing that emissions are a federal issue and cannot be tried in state courts. The Supreme Court receives thousands of such petitions annually, each with a minimal chance of being reviewed. Yet, recent efforts by right-wing fossil fuel supporters, including op-eds and social media campaigns, have pushed the justices to consider the oil companies’ request. Some of these groups are linked to Leonard Leo, co-chair of the ultraconservative Federalist Society.

Patrick Parenteau, a professor and senior climate policy fellow at Vermont Law School, highlighted that this delay could lead to motions to stay proceedings in similar lawsuits filed by other cities and states. During his campaign, President Biden pledged to have his Justice Department strategically support climate litigation. Advocates now see this as an opportunity for the Biden administration to honor that promise.

Alyssa Johl, vice-president of legal at the Center for Climate Integrity, stated that the lawsuit aims to hold big oil accountable for their actions and ensure they pay for the damages they have caused. Justice Samuel Alito recused himself from the Supreme Court’s consideration of the petition due to his stock ownership in ConocoPhillips, one of the defendants.

In a related development, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Meta’s appeal of a lower-court ruling that allowed a multibillion-dollar class action lawsuit to proceed. This lawsuit stems from the notorious Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, which involved the misuse of personal information from about 87 million Facebook users to target U.S. voters during the 2016 election. The scandal has led to significant financial repercussions for Meta, including a $5.1 billion fine and a $725 million privacy settlement with users.

Both the climate litigation against big oil and the privacy scandal lawsuit against Meta demonstrate the high stakes involved in these legal battles, with potential implications reaching billions of dollars and significant impacts on corporate accountability and public trust.

Conservative Bias:

Once again, the Supreme Court is being manipulated by the radical left and their cronies in the Biden administration to push their anti-business agenda. These frivolous lawsuits against big oil are nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt by liberal activists to c****** our energy sector and push their unrealistic green agenda. The Biden administration's involvement is a clear sign that they are more interested in pandering to their extremist base than in supporting American jobs and energy independence. The left's relentless attacks on our industries are not only baseless but also detrimental to our economy and national security. This delay is a victory against the left's overreach and a step towards protecting our vital energy resources from their destructive policies.

Liberal Bias:

The Supreme Court's decision to delay climate litigation is yet another example of how the conservative justices are in the pocket of big oil and their far-right supporters. This move is a blatant attempt to shield fossil fuel companies from accountability for their decades of deception and environmental destruction. The involvement of right-wing groups and their relentless lobbying efforts only underscores the corrupt influence of money in our judicial system. The Biden administration now has an opportunity to stand up for climate justice and hold these corporations accountable, but the right's obstructionism continues to threaten meaningful progress. This delay is a stark reminder of the conservative agenda to prioritize corporate profits over the health and safety of our planet and its people.

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