The U.S. Supreme Court’s first decision of its current term involves somewhat of a non-traditional case between two southern states.
In a unanimous decision Monday, the high court “rejected a claim that the Memphis, Tennessee, area has been taking water that belongs to Mississippi from an underground aquifer that sits beneath parts of both states,” The Associated Press reported.
The AP added:
The high court’s first decision of the term came in a case argued in October, deflating expectations that the justices would resolve the issue of whether Texas’ ban on most abortions could be challenged in federal court.
Two cases on the Texas issue were argued Nov. 1 under an accelerated process that the court has previously used only rarely and in some of its most notable decisions, including the Bush v. Gore case that settled the 2000 presidential election.
But those cases remain unsettled.
In writing for the court over the water dispute that goes back to 2005, Chief Justice John Roberts relied on justices’ longstanding embrace of the fair-share concept when it comes to deciding disputes over such resources from rivers and streams. The legal doctrine is known as equitable apportionment, according to the AP.
However, Mississippi Mississippi, though, “contends that it has sovereign ownership of all groundwater beneath its surface, so equitable apportionment ought not apply.