When ENG meets LEX

20 Jul

The Other Lit in Litigation

If you have room for a general education elective, you may want to consider a literature course.

In a March 31, 2015 ruling in the U.S. District Court for Hawaii, Chief Justice Susan Oki Mollway quoted English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”  “This court feels like the sailor in [the poem] who, trapped for days on a ship, becalmed in the middle of the ocean, laments, ‘Water, water every where, Nor any drop to drink.”

Chief Justice Mollway was referring to her inability to find any legal rationale for the National Maritime Fisheries Service’s approval of the U.S. Navy’s plan to detonate high intensity sonar with license to harm whales, dolphins, sea lions, and other marine mammals “up to 9.6 million times” during the planned exercises.  The suit was initiated by the National Research Defense Council and other environmental and conservation organizations.

Chief Justice Mollway, set to retire on November 6, is the first Asian-American woman to have been appointed to the federal bench.  She did her undergraduate work at University of Hawaii and received her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

– Barb Stenross

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