Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Communication | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Speech and Rhetorical Studies


On November 12, 2008, the Supreme Court decided a significant case involving the use of mid-frequency active sonar in the waters off the coast of Southern California. In the decision, Winter v. NRDC, the High Court ruled that the Navy‘s need to conduct military training using active sonar outweighed the interests of environmentalists, who had contended that sonar results in devastating effects on marine mammals. This paper examines the public and legal discourse related to the case, arguing that the Navy invoked an ideograph of that valorized military technology and expertise at the expense of the natural environment. The paper then examines the implications of the case and the use of in public culture.