Obama and the Supreme Court

What do you think is more important- helping the Navy detect potential attacks by terrorists and hostile countries, or saving a couple of dolphins?

Hmmm…. preventing attacks… or protecting a sea otter?

If you think it’s a silly question, guess again. It’s exactly the question that the Supreme Court grappled with in a recent decision, Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council. The case arose from a suit whereby some environmental advocacy groups sought to prevent the Navy from using Sonar equipment because, the groups claimed, the use of this equipment could harm sea mammals off the San Diego coast.

I find it mind-boggling, but four judges in California (all Democrat appointees) and two members of the Supreme Court, David Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, sided with the fish. As the National Journal’s Stuart Taylor explains here:

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter … In their dissenting opinion blew off in a single sentence the government’s hundreds of pages of evidence that the lower courts’ injunction could place at risk the lives of thousands of sailors and marines. It may seem far-fetched to worry that enemy submarines might someday sink an aircraft carrier with 5,000 sailors and marines aboard. But no more far-fetched than it would have seemed on September 10, 2001, to worry that terrorists might murder in a single day more Americans than died in the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Ginsburg and Souter are (along with Justice Stevens) the most liberal members of the court – and when I say many people “just don’t get it” about the terrorist threat, this is what I’m talking about, dear readers.

But more importantly, when I say the direction of the Supreme Court was the biggest reason why I voted for McCain, this is a perfect illustration.

And of course, Barack Obama now will decide the direction of the Court.

We simply will not win the Global War on Terror if the Supreme Court uses its unfettered power to restrict the activities of the military, intelligence and law enforcement communities. The Court has the ability to tie both our hands behind our back, while the Jihadists will forever do as they wish. That is a fight we cannot win.

When people in New York City (and I assume this applies in other liberal bastions) discuss the Supreme Court, the conversation usually centers on Roe v. Wade and other decisions relating to hot button social issues like gay marriage and affirmative action. The focus on Roe v. Wade is much ado about nothing- the fact is that even if Roe were overturned, abortion would remain legal throughout the United States. Anyone who tells you that overturning Roe would cause abortion to be banned is either ignorant or just trying to scare you. Want proof? South Dakota is among the most conservative states in the country, and even there a proposed ban on abortion was soundly defeated in 2006 and again in 2008. Other attempts to limit abortion were voted down in California and Colorado.

The “abortion-will-be-outlawed” claim is bunk, a scare tactic with no basis in reality.

But the Supreme Court’s impact on the War on Terror is immediate and real. As Justice Antonin Scalia observed in his dissent in Boumediene v. Bush concerning the right of Habeas Corpus for prisoners held at Guantanamo:

At least 30 of those prisoners hitherto released from Guantanamo Bay have returned to the battlefield…Some have been captured or killed. But others have succeeded in carrying out their atrocities against innocent civilians. In one case, a detainee released from Guantanamo Bay masterminded the kidnapping of two Chinese dam workers, one of whom was later shot to death when used as a human shield against Pakistani commandos. Another former detainee promptly resumed his post as a senior Taliban commander and murdered a United Nations engineer and three Afghan soldiers. Still another murdered an Afghan judge. It was reported only last month that a released detainee carried out a suicide bombing against Iraqi soldiers in Mosul, Iraq…[The majority decision] will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed

The recent decision on the use of sonar is surely the first of many of its kind.

In then end, it’s about priorities- protect a few dolphins, or defeat the terrorists?

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.