Judge grants Connecticut’s request to block base-closings recommendation | VailDaily.com

Judge grants Connecticut’s request to block base-closings recommendation

HARTFORD, Conn. – A federal judge agreed Wednesday to block the base closings commission from recommending changes at an Air National Guard base, which the governor says cannot be altered without her authority.Another judge threw out a Missouri lawsuit that opposed closing an air base in St. Louis.The Pentagon’s base realignment plan, which the Base Closure and Realignment Commission approved last month, removes the fighter jets at Connecticut’s Bradley Air National Guard Base.But the temporary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello stops the commission from recommending the Bradley changes to President Bush.The judge wrote that the governor would suffer significant hardship if the state’s lawsuit wasn’t considered, since the recommendation would not be subject to judicial review once it was submitted to the president.Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who by statute is commander in chief of the state’s National Guard, said she was pleased with the ruling. “Our authority has been recognized,” she said.The federal government, which contends the commission’s recommendations are not reviewable by the courts, quickly filed a notice of appeal late Wednesday afternoon.In the Missouri case, U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton ruled that she has no authority to hear the lawsuit because the decision to close the unit is still preliminary, subject to approval by the president and Congress.Other challenges to the BRAC recommendations have resulted in conflicting decisions. A judge sided with Pennsylvania’s governor regarding a base there, but courts in Illinois and New Jersey have concluded they don’t have jurisdiction over the base closing commission process.Several N.J. politicians behind the lawsuit opposing Fort Monmouth’s closure filed an appeal Wednesday.BRAC has recommended the government close or consolidate 62 major bases and 775 smaller military installations. Once Bush receives the plan, he has pledged to send it unchanged to Congress.Congress can vote the entire plan up or down, but cannot modify it, according to law. Several members of Congress were among the plaintiffs in the states’ lawsuits.Vail, Colorado

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