An Aha! Moment

05/25/2011 12:10 pm ET

For those who've kept insisting, during the past two years, that somehow the federal government isn't responsible for the disastrous flooding of New Orleans, and have proposed other miscreants -- the State, the City, Mother Nature -- here comes an Aha! moment from, of all people, an officer of the U.S. Department of Justice, Robin Smith. Smith, appearing in court to oppose a citizens' lawsuit against the Corps of Engineers, said it in the plainest English possible yesterday, according to the Times-Picayune:

Those structures that failed were federal structures through and through

Now, of course, those are words spoken in the midst of litigation, but issue at hand was not federal responsibility, but rather whether part of the failed "system" was or was not covered by the rubric of flood control (if it were, the Corps would have sovereign immunity). What Ms. Smith said in that sentence should, as the lawyers say, be dispositive as to the federal responsibility. We'll see.