A Win for Tennessee and for Equitable Apportionment of Resources: SCOTUS Today

Whereas this publish shouldn’t be going to be of profound curiosity to most practitioners, it serves at the very least two functions. First, it marks the brand new circulation of formal opinions of the Courtroom for the present time period, and second, it’s a reminder that there’s a small class of instances that proceed to the Courtroom in its authentic jurisdiction—one that features fits between states.

Article III, part 2, of the Structure gives that “In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”

Today’s case is that of Mississippi v. Tennessee, an authentic motion introduced by Mississippi, looking for damages associated to the pumping of groundwater by the Metropolis of Memphis from a supply generally known as the Center Claiborne Aquifer. Mississippi claimed an unique proper to the water at problem, however the details that the aquifer lies beneath no fewer than eight states and the wells from which Memphis was pumping are all in Tennessee.

Making use of the doctrine of equitable apportionment—which goals to provide a good allocation of a shared water useful resource between two or extra states, primarily based on the precept that states have an equal proper to cheap use of shared water assets—the Courtroom held in favor of Tennessee and dismissed Mississippi’s declare with prejudice.

One means that because the nation has begun to expertise the consequences of local weather change and inhabitants shifts, disputes like this are going to extend. In enthusiastic about equitable apportionment of a useful resource among the many states, Ben Franklin’s well-known assertion, uttered in a wholly totally different context—that “we must, indeed, all hang together …”—involves thoughts.

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