July 30 (UPI) -- The court issued an order Monday, denying the government's request to halt the discovery process of obtaining evidence and depositions, stating it was "premature."
"The breadth of respondents' claims is striking, however, and the justiciability of those claims presents substantial grounds for difference of opinion," the court wrote. "The District Court should take these concerns into account in assessing the burdens of discovery and trial, as well as the desirability of a prompt ruling on the Government's pending dispositive motions."
The Department of Justice brought the request to retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to halt the case -- filed in 2015 by 21 child and young adult plaintiffs -- after it was rejected by the District Court for the District of Oregon and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
"This suit is an attempt to redirect federal environmental and energy policies through the courts rather than through the political process, by asserting a new and unsupported fundamental due process right to certain climate conditions," the Justice Department said.
A group of young people represented by climate activist and scientist James Hansen originally filed the lawsuit against the Obama administration, government policies violated their constitutional rights by exacerbating global warming for future generations.
They seek to force the government to implement a plan to phase out carbon emissions in order to stabilize the environment.
"The harm to the climate system threatens the very foundation of life, including the personal security, liberties, and property," if those involved in the case, lawyers for the young people said.
Lawyers also said the government was attempting to short-circuit the usual litigation process by seeking to halt the case.