California v. Nevada Page 16

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Media for California v. Nevada

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 14, 1980 in California v. Nevada

Jan S. Stevens:

And the Court felt that the proper remedy in that case was to direct a new survey to be made.

We have touched on the question of titles but I don't think it is necessary to touch on it at length in this proceeding, because what is before the Court directly of course is the location of the boundary between California and Nevada.

We do suggest that the Special Master and the United States have both properly recommended that this question be referred to further proceedings, because we believe that solutions are possible.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Well, that is not involved before us right now, is it?

Jan S. Stevens:

No, only to the extent that the Special Master --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

If we just happen to agree with you on this acquiescence issue, we don't need to do anything else, do we?

Jan S. Stevens:

Certainly not at this time, Your Honor.

Warren E. Burger:

Well, if we did nothing else that would mean we acquiesced in the Master's recommendation that you continue this process, would it not?

Jan S. Stevens:

I assume it would.

Byron R. White:

You have never referred to him any issue about titles.

You have just referred to him the dispute between the two States.

Jan S. Stevens:

That is right.

Byron R. White:

So we would have to expand his reference, wouldn't we, if he was going to go on and do something besides what he has done now?

Jan S. Stevens:

We have filed a motion, Your Honor, for the Commission to file an amended complaint which expressly raises this question.

Byron R. White:

So that we haven't acted on that?

Jan S. Stevens:

And you have not acted on that.

Byron R. White:

So in the absence of that, we would have to simply resolve the issue of the boundary line and if this Special Master went beyond the reference to suggest private title litigation, a decree reflecting that recommendation would probably be beyond the reference, wouldn't it?

Jan S. Stevens:

I am not sure, Your Honor.

The Special Master initially recommended in its preliminary report that it would be advantageous to the parties and the Court to resolve all known disputes with respect to the determination of the joint common boundaries and that piecemeal litigation should be avoided.

Potter Stewart:

There are other forums for settling these title questions, they don't have to be settled here.

Jan S. Stevens:

Your Honor, they may have to be.

Potter Stewart:

Why is that?

It is just a fight between the United States and the State.

Jan S. Stevens:

The controversy may involve both States and the United States.

Potter Stewart:

Well, but not against each other.

Jan S. Stevens:

We know of no direct instance in which both States --

Potter Stewart:

Well, then it can be settled somewhere else.

Jan S. Stevens:

To select the same parcel.

It is possible that it could but since all three parties have interests in the lands affected, I think the Solicitor General has properly suggested that it may be that we will have to seek resolution in this Court.

It is the recommendation of the Special Master only that further proceedings be had with respect to this question and the Solicitor General has recommended only that such proceedings take place without the actual joinder of the United States and possibly without the necessity of further action here.