Montana Judge Flunks Science Test

Clarice Feldman19 Aug, 2023 4 Min Read
Do it for the children.

Montana judge Kathy Seeley was handed a science test by a group of kids (none over the age of eighteen at the time suit was filed) fronting for an "environmentalist" lawfare group, Our Children’s Trust, and she bombed it. Judge Seeley, it appears, was bamboozled by their tales of the prospective woe that would come from a failure to force state agencies to evaluate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on kids. The opinion and order which runs to over 100 pages, recounts a litany of the children’s absurd fears if she fails to enjoin the state’s actions and is weak on the impact of Montana’s refusal to cede to the plaintiff’s demands:

  • “Olivia expressed despair due to climate change.”
  • “Badge is anxious when he thinks about the future that he, and his potential children, will inherit.”
  • “Grace … is anxious about climate change.”
  • “Mica gets frustrated when he is required to stay indoors during the summer because of wildfire smoke.”

At issue is Montana’s code, which forbids the state “from considering the impacts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or climate change in their environmental reviews; and the aggregate acts the State has taken to implement and perpetuate a fossil fuel-base energy system pursuant to these two statutory provisions.” But the tears of the children -- inspired, of course, by climate activists -- persuaded the judge to declare it unconstitutional for the state to disallow these ephemeral fears to be taken into account in all environmental reviews.

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Leftists, of course, are cheering -- Julia Olson, executive director of Our Children’s Trust, said “Today’s ruling in Montana is a game-changer that marks a turning point in this generation’s efforts to save the planet from the devastating effects of human-caused climate chaos.”  But an editorial at Issues and Insights pointed out a particular bizarre Leftist framing:

It was up to the crack reporters and editors at the once respectable Associated Press to come up with what is perhaps the most asinine sentence ever written about this issue. “The ruling following a first-of-its-kind trial in the U.S.,” the AP reported, “adds to a small number of legal decisions around the world that have established a government duty to protect citizens from climate change.”

A government duty to protect citizens from climate change”? Think about that for a minute... Someone should take these AP reporters aside and explain to them a basic fact of life: The climate is always changing.  It’s radical anti-growth environmentalists – aided by brain-dead reporters – not oil and gas companies, who are the biggest threats to the health, safety, and well-being of those kids in Montana.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Montana's attorney general, Austin Knudsen, rightly called the ruling “absurd” and said that this “same legal theory has been thrown out of federal court and courts in more than a dozen states. It should have been here as well, but they found an ideological judge who bent over backward to allow the case to move forward and earn herself a spot in their next documentary.”

It is worth noting that, the purported "injuries" to be suffered by the plaintiffs are minimal when weighed against the impact on everyone of net-zero policies. Judge Seeley apparently believes that 0.0004°F warming by 2050 threatens the future of children in Montana:

Here is some of the balderdash that persuaded Judge Seeley of the impacts on the children of not enjoining Montana’s Environmental Policy Act—most of which seem, in fact, to be psychological stress caused by children being fed a diet of climate apocalypse.

The psychological harms are both acute and chronic and accrue from impacts to the climate as heat waves, droughts, wildfires, air pollution, extreme weather events, the loss of wildlife, watching glaciers melt, and the loss of familial and cultural practices and traditions.

Various plaintiffs testified to the despair they felt about glaciers melting and the judge found “increased heat and temperatures negatively affect cognition and are linked to increased evidence of aggression and exacerbation of pre-existing mental disorders.” It’s apparently even worse for indigenous children because “extreme weather harms their ability to participate in cultural practices and access traditional food sources, which is particularly harmful to indigenous youth with their place-based cultures and traditions.”

This is the future, my child.

It's hard to choose which of the “deleterious effects” of “climate chaos” detailed in the lengthy opinion is my favorite — maybe this one: ”In recent years, increasing temperatures at Crow Fair have made it hard to wear traditional regalia and participate in cultural activities because it is dangerously hot, sometimes over 100 degrees.” I say this from Washington, D.C. where, as is normal, the temperature in summer is regularly very hot, and I can’t imagine decking out in buckskin, porcupine quills, shells and feathers in it. Even less can I imagine this city operating without air conditioning, which depends on fossil fuels.

In actuality Montana is one of the coldest areas of the country. It’s the sixth coldest state in the nation. So had it failed to go to zero emissions by 2050 even using the IPCC model it would only have warmed by 0.0004°F. I imagine the effects on children in this naturally cold state under a zero-emission policy would be far greater—food shortages, shortages of electricity, and lack of fuel to keep warm. Maybe they should be crusading against that.

Clarice Feldman is a retired attorney living in Washington, D.C. During her legal career she represented the late labor leader Joseph ("Jock") Yablonski and the reform mine workers against Tony Boyle. She served as an attorney with the Department of Justice Office of Special Investigations, in which role she prosecuted those who aided the Nazis in World War II. She has written for The Weekly Standard and is a regular contributor to American Thinker.


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2 comments on “Montana Judge Flunks Science Test”

  1. What did Mica say when he was forced to stay home, then return to class masked and six feet from his buddies, when this same government declared a "Covid emergency"? Or is that question not pertinent, because science!

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