Andrus v. Charlestone Stone Products Company

PETITIONER: Andrus
RESPONDENT: Charlestone Stone Products Company
LOCATION: University Medical Center

DOCKET NO.: 77-380
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 436 US 604 (1978)
ARGUED: Apr 18, 1978
DECIDED: May 31, 1978

ADVOCATES:
Gerry Levenberg - for respondent
Sara S. Beale - for petitioner
Sara Sun Beale -

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Andrus v. Charlestone Stone Products Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 18, 1978 in Andrus v. Charlestone Stone Products Company

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 31, 1978 in Andrus v. Charlestone Stone Products Company

Thurgood Marshall:

I have also have for announcement the opinion in number 77-380, Andrus versus Charlestone Stone Products Company.

This case comes to us on a writ of certiorari to United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

And the question is whether water is a locatable mineral under the Mining Law of 1872.

The Secretory of the Interior challenged the validity of respondents mining claims.

Administrative boards held most of the claims invalid.

The District Court reversed and among other rulings, granted respondent access to water that it had discovered on one of the claims.

The Court of Appeals affirmed adding sue sponte that claimed with water was made valid by the presence of the water.

By an opinion filed today, we reverse the Court of Appeals.

A mining claim is not made valid merely because of the substance discovered on the land is “a valuable mineral”, within the dictionary definition of these words.

It is clear from the mining statutes and that private water rights on federal lands are to be governed by state and local law and custom.

Administrative decisions and decision of this court confirms this view, which is also supported by consideration of the practical problems that will arise from having two overlapping systems for acquisition of private water rights.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice Marshall.