Scene in a Honolulu courtroom

Last Tuesday, September 2, in the court of District Judge Helen Gillmor:

Justice Department attorney Andrew Smith: OK, let’s assume that there was a NEPA [National Environmental Protection Act] obligation, and maybe there’s a NEPA document out there, maybe there’s not. But we don’t even need to get there. Plaintiffs’ complaint says they have to be injured by this project. Their only claim to injury…

Judge Gillmor: … is that the world might blow up, and so we shouldn’t get concerned about that. You’re right. Why was I even considering it? Mr. Smith, I mean, I really find that, you know, I don’t know if there’s anything to this case, but that’s just not a great direction to be going.

Smith: I’m not following you. I mean, if their only claim to injury is that the world’s …

Gillmor: That they might die.

Smith: Right.

Gillmor: Yes.

Smith: So they have to show that that’s a credible injury. Is it actually going to happen? I can’t just go into federal court and say, you know, ‘the United States is participating with Israel to launch a nuclear missile, satellite that has nuclear material in it, and that nuclear material might land on my house in Albuquerque. They didn’t do NEPA. I have standing.’ That’s what this case is about.

Gillmor: I understand what you just said, that hypothetical, but that’s not his [Wagner’s] hypothetical. His hypothetical … I mean, and you know, his hypothetical is that the world would be made into a, you know, hard iron rock, which is different than ‘I might be an unintended casualty of something that’s happening half around the world – way around the world, but the person next door wouldn’t be.’

Published in: on 10 September, 2008 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

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