It’s not every day that I see a headline like this:

Federal appeals court refuses to block invasive fish from Great Lakes

Because of my unfortunate tendency to read things literally, I was initially taken aback, as I could not understand why anyone would think fish are capable of obeying court orders. But when I read the story, I realized that the court was not refusing to block the fish, but rather, was refusing to take sides on one of the particular plans to prevent them from getting into the Great Lakes.

Although all parties agree the fish need to be dealt with, there is disagreement as to how. Illinois, the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers [official websites], thus far the prevailing parties, stand behind the Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework [text, PDF], a law that encourages aggressive hunting and control of the fish species before they enter the Great Lakes. However, the plaintiffs, the states of Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and several intervening organizations, believe the best strategy would be to close two waterways in Chicago that allow the carp to reach the Great Lakes. The three-judge panel, although ultimately rejecting Michigan’s request for an injunction, cautioned the federal government and Illinois on letting the carp population get out of control.

Quite different conceptually from the literal judicial intervention I had initially imagined. I liked the headline, though.

But I’m wondering… If an invasive and fearless species of fly were to defy our laws and wend its way across the seas, would the federal courts refuse to send in a federal “SWAT” Team?

MORE: Glenn Reynolds opines that the carp have good lawyers.

Well, good lawyers are always full of carp!

Not to carp, but what does their Asian status have to do with it anyway?