Saturday, January 8, 2005
The Supreme Court may be a whiz when it comes to criminal procedure or the Commerce Clause, but it doesn’t really do contract law. So it will be interesting to see what strange gyrations the Nine Wise Old Guardians go through in resolving a major contract dispute involving water rights in the West.
The case involves farmers and ranchers whose existing water rights are being infringed by federal action to protect endangered species or protect other environmental interests. The federal actions have driven many family farmers to bankruptcy, and they are suing. Law.com quotes their lawyer, William A. Smiland of Los Angeles: “[T]he rules may have changed in the middle of the game. We are going to ask the Court to reaffirm they haven't changed. We have a rule of law here.”