Kanuk v. Alaska, Dept. of Natural ResourcesAnnotate this Case
In May 2011, plaintiffs, six Alaskan children acting through their guardians, filed suit against the State of Alaska, Department of Natural Resources, seeking declaratory and equitable relief. The plaintiffs contended that the State breached "its public trust obligations [under] [a]rticle VIII of the Alaska Constitution" by failing "to protect the atmosphere from the effects of climate change and secure a future for Plaintiffs and Alaska's children." The minors argued that the superior court erred when it dismissed their complaint on grounds that their claims were not justiciable, specifically, that the claims involved political questions best answered by other branches of state government. The Supreme Court concluded the claims for declaratory relief did not present political questions, and affirmed their dismissal, because in the absence of justiciable claims for specific relief, a declaratory judgment could not settle the parties' controversy or otherwise provide them with clear guidance about the consequences of their future conduct.