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    Re: strange legal opinion in usa
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2006 Sep 21, 20:49 -0500

    "Without going to far afield, consider some kids out fishing in a small 
    boat, this ruling would make them liable for fishing too near shore and failing 
    to be observant of the tide.  Ridiculous!"

    Let's not assume that the  most outrageous Internet-inflamed version of this
    story is the correct one. The  world is not coming to an end. This is not
    another case of an "out of control  judiciary". It's a relatively straight-forward
    matter of riparian rights. If  you're interested in this subject, it's really
    fascinating with a deep, deep  tradition of legal precedents. No little kids
    in small boats will be sent to  prison just because of this one ruling. And it
    protects the rights of property  owners from squatters and looters during
    flood stages of large  rivers.

    It's pretty far from the main list topic, so I won't go on too  much about
    this, but here's a bit of trivia on the law of riparian rights in the  US...
    Suppose I'm the State of Mississippi and you're the State of Louisiana.  The big
    river between us has been meandering a bit and my favorite  sandbar/island
    (where one of my constituents would like to build a chicken farm)  has wandered
    slowly across the channel over the past 75 years and now it's  sitting high and
    dry firmly on your (Louisiana) side of the river. So you say,  "no way, that
    thar is Lousiana mud... go build yer henhouse somewhere else. Now  git!". So
    we go to court, right? But which court? The local courthouse in Mudpie  County?
    The State Court of Muddy Sandbar Disputes?? Nope. The very first stop in 
    this case is the US Supreme Court -- the court with jurisdiction over interstate 
    boundary disputes. We're accustomed to thinking of the US Supreme Court as
    the  court with authority over weighty issues of constitutional law. It's
    interesting  that they also are the court that hears disputes over mudbanks in the 
    Mississippi River. Here's a little snippet from the New York Times (Nov. 1, 
    "The Supreme Court settled one of the country's longer-running  boundary
    disputes today by ruling unanimously that a seven-mile stretch of river  frontage
    on the Mississippi River's Louisiana bank actually belongs to  Mississippi. In
    awarding the uninhabited property known as Stack Island, near  Lake
    Providence, La., to the state across the river, the Court acted within its  "original
    jurisdiction," its authority under the Constitution to sit as a trial  court
    and resolve disputes between states. The Court applied principles of  boundary
    adjudication it has developed over years of hearing such cases."

    Hey, I bet you could use a sextant to survey a river... There. We're back  on
    topic. :-)

    42.0N 87.7W, or 41.4N  72.1W.

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