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Arizona v. California

United States Supreme Court
373 U.S. 546 (1963)


Facts

The Colorado River provides water to Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Indian reservations within those states. In 1952, the State of Arizona (plaintiff) invoked the original jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court to bring a claim against California (defendant) to determine the proper allocation of water from the Colorado River to these various states and tribes. The United States intervened and asserted claims on behalf of five Indian reservations in Arizona, California, and Nevada. The United States argued that water rights for the reservations were reserved at the time the reservations were created. In response, Arizona argued that the United States did not have the power to reserve those rights, that executive orders were not sufficient to reserve water rights, and that even if that water rights were reserved, the amount of water should be limited and equally apportioned between the Indians and Arizona under the equal-apportionment doctrine.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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