Americans’ rights to rivers and lakes in danger after 9th Circuit ruling

‘A right that the U.S. Supreme Court has said all Americans possess’

Bob UnruhBy Bob Unruh
Published December 27, 2020 at 7:43pm

(Image courtesy Pixabay)

The Supreme Court is being asked to affirm an 1873 precedent that citizens of the United States have a right to use the nation’s navigable rivers and lakes.

The appeal was made after the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals curtailed the scope of that right, ruling it only protects uses that “involve interstate or foreign commerce.” But the 9th Circuit went further, according to the Institute for Justice.

The appeals court said that uses of navigable waters within a state also are not protected and the law generally bars “claims against the power of the state governments over the rights of [their] own citizens.”

The Institute for Justice is representing two brothers opposing Washington state’s refusal to allow them to launch a small ferry service due to the state’s “public convenience and necessity” requirement.



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