Term’s first Supreme opinion comes in whale of a case

supremesThe Supreme Court handed down its first opinion of the term this morning. And the result of the divided opinion was: Navy 1, Whales 0.

In Winter v. NRDC, the Court ruled that the navy could conduct exercises using long-range sonar off the coast of California. Environmental groups argued that the sonar exercises led to dire consequences for whales, disorienting the sea mammals and causing them to die. A court had restricted the exercises, leading President George W. Bush to grant the navy an exemption stating that the practice was vital to the nation’s interest. But he 9th Circuit reversed Bush’s order and the government appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s opinion, authored by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., stated that even if irreparable harm was caused to the whales, “any such injury is outweighed by the public interest and the Navy’s interest in effective, realistic training of its sailors.”


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