Wednesday, March 30, 2016

San Diego Navy Broadway Coalition v. US DOD (9th Cir. - March 30, 2016)

Judge Pregerson authors the majority opinion and holds that the redevelopment of a fifteen-acre waterfront site in San Diego can go forward because the Department of Defense adequately took a "hard look" at the consequences of a possible terrorist attack on this facility.  Judge Carr, sitting by designation, disagrees, and dissents.

Personally, I'm neither sure who's right, nor -- on a broader level -- the whole point in the first place.

I'm quite confident what the consequences would be of a terrorist attack on this, or any, facility.  It would be bad.  Extremely bad.  People would die, property would be destroyed, citizens would be freaked, traffic would be terrible, etc. etc. etc.   I don't think that actually spelling out in minute detail each one of these various consequences would matter in the slightest.  It'd be bad.  Very bad.  End of story.

It's not like someone's going to support this redevelopment project but then say:  "Oh, wait.  Now I know the specifics of how a terrorist attack might throw up dust.  Forget it.  Now I'm opposed."  Not going to happen.

Still, I get it.  The law says you've got to do X, the parties fight about whether X has been done, and the Ninth Circuit has to resolve the dispute.

But, in the scheme of things, I just don't see how fights like this matter.