Mississippi v. Tennessee, Orig. 143, is one of three original jurisdiction interstate water dispute cases currently pending before the United States Supreme Court.
On November 5, 2020, the Special Master, Eugene E. Siler, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, issued a Report recommending, among other things, that “groundwater contained in the Middle Claiborne Aquifer” is an interstate resource, and this groundwater should be subject to the “equitable apportionment” doctrine. Plaintiff, the State of Mississippi and Defendants, including the State of Tennessee both filed Exceptions to this Report to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Matthew Draper, John Draper and Corinne Atton of Draper & Draper filed an amicus curiae brief, in support of neither party, on behalf of the International Law Committee of The New York City Bar Association. The New York City Bar, founded in 1870, is one of the oldest bar associations in the United States. It has more than 25,000 members.
The case raises issues of first impression, namely: When is a groundwater aquifer a transboundary resource, and should transboundary groundwater be subject to the doctrine of equitable apportionment?
Draper & Draper’s brief urges the U.S. Supreme Court to consider principles of international law when deciding these issues, and in particular to consider provisions of the United Nations 1997 Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses and the United Nations International Law Commission 2006 Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers.