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Alec L. v. McCarthy

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20130
Nos. 13-5192, (D.C. Cir., 06/05/2014)

The D.C. Circuit dismissed teenagers' lawsuit against the federal government for failing to cap greenhouse gas emissions. Invoking the federal question statute, 28 U.S.C. §1331, as the basis for subject matter jurisdiction, the minors alleged that the federal defendants are trustees of essential natural resources under various provisions of the U.S. Constitution, and that the defendants have abdicated their trust duty to protect the atmosphere from irreparable harm. But the minors point to no case standing for the proposition that the public trust doctrine—or claims based upon violations of that doctrine—arise under the Constitution or laws of the United States, as would be necessary to establish federal question jurisdiction. The lower court, therefore, correctly dismissed the suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.