Protecting Our Constitutional Right to Liberty

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit to protect Americans’ right to be let alone and to compel federal government action on climate change.


March 10, 2022

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The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit to protect Americans’ right to liberty, which courts have called the right to be let alone, and to compel federal government action on climate change.

The plaintiffs include scientists, nature enthusiasts, and wildlife advocates who are no longer able to safely conduct their research or interact with nature because of the increased severity of wildfires, mudslides, and avalanches; disappearing snowpack and edible plants; and flash flooding, all of which have been altered due to damage caused by climate change.

Who is being sued, why, and under what law? The lawsuit has been brought against the United States, the U.S. Department of the Interior and its Secretary, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Secretary, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its Secretary, and the U.S. Department of Defense and its Secretary.

What court is the lawsuit filed in? The United States District Court for the District of Oregon

Why this case is important: This case brings together the animal protection community, environmentalists, and human rights advocates. Animals, the environment, and human beings are all threatened by climate change, and so these three communities are working together with a joint mission.

Climate change caused by carbon emissions presents critical and urgent threats to life on this planet — and to our constitutional rights. A recent study published in Nature finds that human activity has changed more than 77 percent of land, not counting Antarctica. As society becomes increasingly urbanized and digitally connected, the only place where the constitutional right to liberty truly exists is in America’s public lands.

The lawsuit is necessary, because only the federal government has the ability and power to take the necessary actions to reduce carbon emissions to an effective degree.

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