Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Someone tells the Deciderator-in-Chief to "go Cheney yourself"

"Your procrastination does not constitute an emergency on my part...." (see here, for instance)

In the ongoing battle between the Chimperator and the law, the S.F. Chronicle reports this:
(02-04) 19:47 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge rejected on Monday President Bush's attempt to exempt the Navy from environmental laws protecting endangered whales from sound waves caused by underwater sonar blasts during anti-submarine training off the Southern California coast.

Bush issued an order Jan. 15 that sought to override the judge's order limiting the Navy's use of sonar in Channel Islands waters frequented by whales and other marine mammals. The president said the restrictions would interfere with military exercises that are essential to national security.'

But U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper of Los Angeles said Monday that Bush lacked authority in this case to suspend the National Environmental Policy Act, on which her earlier order was based.

That law requires federal agencies to examine environmental damage that their actions might cause and propose measures to prevent the harm. Cooper - who had found that the Navy failed to follow those requirements - said federal regulations, in place since 1978, allow the president to override the environmental law only in an emergency.
And there was no "emergency":
"The Navy's current 'emergency' is simply a creature of its own making ... its failure to prepare adequate environmental documentation in a timely fashion," Cooper said in a 36-page ruling. The only thing that has changed since environmental groups sued the Navy in March 2007 to protect the whales, she said, is that the Navy lost a court ruling that it wants the president to overturn.
But this maladministration seems to think that if it loses, the only thing it needs to do is 'ask again, louder"....

Then we have the "unitary executive" theory (otherwise known as the "GFY theory") make a covert appearance ... and get shot down:
The judge also called Bush's order constitutionally suspect because he cited no new arguments, other than those the Navy had already offered in court, but simply reached a different conclusion from hers - a task that the Constitution assigns to appellate courts, not the president or Congress....
Sorry, Dubya, but you don't get to say "what the law is". This is what happens when someone stands up to the authoritarian maladministration and calls them on their bovine effluvia:
... But Cooper said she didn't have to decide the constitutional issue because the order was invalid on other grounds, that the president lacked the authority to suspend environmental policy.

She left in place an injunction she had issued Jan. 3, requiring the Navy to stay at least 12 nautical miles from shore during the exercises; to post trained lookouts and take other measures to spot whales; and to turn the sonar off when a whale or other marine mammal is spotted within 2,200 yards. Cooper said the Navy had successfully used protective measures in the past and had failed to show that these restrictions would impede the current exercises.

Joel Reynolds, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the ruling was "an appropriate affirmation of our system of laws, the separation and powers and the strong public interest in the protection of whales and other marine life."
Indeed. We need more people to tell the Chimperator that. I saw a bumper sticker on a car yesterday that said, "No, Dubya, we are 'the decider'." Let's send some of those to our Congresscritters.

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