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November 18, 2021

Jones leads 38 of his House Democratic colleagues in urging the Biden Administration to align their position in the Juliana v. United States constitutional climate change lawsuit with its stated goals and objectives on climate action

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY) led nearly 40 Democratic House members in sending a letter calling on the Biden Administration to affirm the fundamental rights of young people to a safe climate system in the Juliana v. United States constitutional climate change lawsuit.

In 2015, a diverse group of young people filed the Juliana lawsuit against the executive branch of the U.S. government for its affirmative actions that have caused the climate crisis and violate the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, property, and equal protection under the law. 

“Young people across our nation are seeking environmental and climate justice, especially youth within environmental justice communities, like the Black, Brown, and Indigenous plaintiffs in this case” wrote the lawmakers. “These communities have contributed the least to emissions and have long suffered from systemic environmental racism and social and economic injustices.”

Thus far, the United States has failed to recognize a fundamental right to a safe climate system, a position that contradicts the Biden Administration’s expressed commitment to address climate change on behalf of our youngest citizens and future generations. 

“It is our hope that all of the defendant agencies within the Biden Administration, and the Department of Justice, will work with the youth to fulfill your commitment to ‘listen to science – and act’ by using a ‘Government-wide approach’ to tackling the climate crisis,” continued the lawmakers.

In addition to Rep. Jones, the letter is signed by Reps. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Nanette Barragán (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Marie Newman (D-IL), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Donald McEachin (D-VA), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Danny Davis (D-IL), Grace Meng (D-NY), Dina Titus (D-NV), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), and Lori Trahan (D-MA).

The full text of the letter can be found here.

About Mondaire: Mondaire Jones is the 34-year-old Congressman from New York’s 17th District, serving Westchester and Rockland Counties. He serves on the House Judiciary, Education and Labor, and Ethics Committees and is the first openly gay, Black member of Congress. A product of East Ramapo public schools, Mondaire was raised in Section 8 housing and on food stamps in the Village of Spring Valley by a single mother who worked multiple jobs to provide for their family. He later graduated from Stanford University, worked at the Department of Justice during the Obama Administration, and graduated from Harvard Law School. He is a co-founder of the nonprofit Rising Leaders, Inc. and has previously served on the NAACP’s National Board of Directors and on the board of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Most recently, Mondaire worked as a litigator in the Westchester County Law Department. In November, Mondaire was unanimously elected by his colleagues to be the Freshman Representative to Leadership, making him the youngest member of the Democratic House leadership team. In December, Jones was appointed a Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and became a Co-Chair of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus. Mondaire was born and raised in Rockland, and resides in Westchester.