A win for whales

Hear that? It's the sound of silence -- and of victory. At least for now.

U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper has ruled that the President Bush overstepped his bounds when he exempted the U.S. Navy from a court ruling banning the use of its sonar during training sessions. The sonar systems have been repeatedly shown to harm marine life -- including endangered whales -- but the Bush Administration argued that the training exercises represented "emergencies" affecting homeland security.

Judge Cooper disagreed, saying that no real emergency exists. She also said she has "significant concerns about the constitutionality of the President's exemption," although she did not include a ruling on that little side-issue.

I'm sure we'll see another government appeal in the coming weeks, but for now, whales can breathe just a little bit easier.