Logourl black
From our private database of 14,100+ case briefs...

United States v. New Mexico

United States Supreme Court
438 U.S. 696 (1978)


Facts

The United States (government) (defendant) claimed reserved rights to an instream water flow in the Gila National Forest for aesthetic, environmental, recreational, fishing, and livestock-watering purposes. In asserting its reserved water rights, the government invoked the implied-reservation-of-water-rights doctrine to claim an implied right to the water. The State of New Mexico (plaintiff) initiated a water-rights adjudication proceeding against the government. The state trial court found that the government lacked reserved rights to the instream water flow, and that state law governed the allocation of stock-watering rights. The government appealed. The Supreme Court of New Mexico considered whether the Organic Administration Act of 1897 (OAA) or the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960 (MUSY) authorized federal reserved rights. The OAA provided that national forests existed “to improve and protect the forest within the boundaries, or for the purpose of securing favorable conditions of water flows, and to furnish a continuous supply of timber.” The MUSY expanded the purposes of national forests to include outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, wildlife preservation, and fishing. The state supreme court concluded that the OAA did not authorize the government’s reserved rights, and that the MUSY did not authorize any rights not provided by the OAA. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

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

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • 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.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Dissent (Powell, J.)

The dissent section is for members only and includes a summary of the dissenting judge or justice’s opinion.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. 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.

  2. 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 221,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 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.