Tag Archives: rule of law

Get Your Old Save The Whales Posters Out

(Regarding the summoning of the devil below, I’ll get there at some point.  But I’d prefer to talk about something important over an obscure argument about which Americans deserve to decide things over which other Americans.)

The battle between environmental groups and the US Navy over the use of sonar off the California coast appeared to come to an end last week, when a federal judge forbade sonar use within 12 miles of the shoreline.  But for this ruling to hold, you would have to have a President who believes in an independent judiciary and the rule of law.  Alas, we have a king.

The Navy announced today that two important steps have been taken under existing law and regulations to allow it to conduct effective, integrated training with sonar off the coast of southern California after a federal court earlier this month imposed untenable restrictions on such training.

In accordance with the provisions of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), and at the recommendation of the Secretary of Commerce, the President concluded that continuing these vital exercises without the restrictions imposed by the district court is in the paramount interests of the United States. He signed an exemption from the requirements of the CZMA for the Navy’s continued use of mid-frequency active (MFA) sonar in a series of exercises scheduled to take place off the coast of California through January 2009. The Navy already applies twenty-nine mitigation measures approved by federal environmental regulators when using active sonar, and these will remain in place.

In other words, the President thinks killing whales is a small price to pay for not having to tell the Navy move their boats a bit.  Anyway, if the whales aren’t willing to die for the cause of liberty, then they simply want the terrorists to win.

The Navy takes steps to limit damage to whales, granted.  But that is pretty much besides the point.  Between denying the waiver for California to regulate its own tailpipe emissions and this latest action, it’s clear that this Administration doesn’t find the normal structures of the law to apply to them.  This next election is in large part about bringing this back into balance, about finding an executive who doesn’t treat the Constitution like something on which you wipe your shoes.