New Hampshire v. Maine
United States Supreme Court
532 U.S. 742 (2001)
In 1740, King George II issued a decree (1740 decree) that the boundary between New Hampshire (plaintiff) and Maine (defendant) was "up the Middle of the [Piscataqua] River." In the 1970s, the states disputed the location of the boundary from Portsmouth Harbor to the sea. The question turned on the meaning of “Middle of the River.” The states engaged in “a searching historical inquiry” into the meaning. Ultimately, New Hampshire entered a consent decree with Maine, agreeing that the phrase meant “the middle of the main channel of navigation of the Piscataqua River.” New Hampshire v. Maine, 424 U.S. 1 (1977). In 2000, New Hampshire sued Maine to contest the inland boundary. New Hampshire now claimed the phrase “Middle of the River” referred only to the main branch, not mid-channel boundaries. New Hampshire argued that the boundary was along the Maine shore of the river and that New Hampshire owned the entire river. Maine asserted New Hampshire was barred from changing its position from the 1977 consent decree based on issue and claim preclusion, as well as judicial estoppel. Maine moved to dismiss.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Ginsburg, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 176,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.