Dugan v. Rank

LOCATION: Clauson's Inn

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 372 US 609 (1963)
ARGUED: Jan 07, 1963
DECIDED: Apr 15, 1963

Facts of the case


Media for Dugan v. Rank

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 07, 1963 (Part 2) in Dugan v. Rank

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 07, 1963 (Part 1) in Dugan v. Rank

H. P. Dugan et al., Petitioners versus Everett G. Rank. Number 51, Claude E. Rowe -- City of Fresno rather, Petitioner versus California et al. and Number 115, The Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District et al., Petitioners versus Everett G. Rank et al.

Archibald Cox:

May it please the Court.

This is one of three cases here on certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, all growing out of a single action brought against the United States and officials of the Bureau of Reclamation.

The central issue is whether the action in all its aspects is in reality, a suit against the United States barred by sovereign immunity.

Our position is that it is such an action and is so barred and that the plaintiffs have a remedy for damages under the Tucker Act in a suit in the Court of Claims but they're not -- but they're not entitled to this action for a specific relief under the doctrine of the Larson case and Malone and Bowdoin.

The justices, who were on the Court at the time of the Gerlach and Ivanhoe cases, will recall the complexity and grandeur of the Central Valley project.

The north half of the Central Valley in California, the Sacramento Valley, has a surplus of water.

The south half, the San Joaquin Valley, has a shortage of water.

The purpose of the project, the essence was to improve the use of water in both halves of the valley, but also particularly to bring surplus down to the water hungry regions in the San Joaquin.

For present purposes, there are only two units of the project that are important to us.

Both were the key units in the sense.

The San Joaquin River rises in the Sierras in the area just south of the Yosemite and then flows southwesterly and breaks through the mountains here at Friant.

Then it continues on, flowing a little bit more to the west and then take a sharp bend up to the northwest and it -- in the delta area, it joins the Sacramento and the two flow out through the Golden Gate to the sea.

The first unit that we're concerned with is the Friant Dam which was built right here where the river breaks through the mountains and behind which is Millerton Lake, a storage reservoir.

Extending from that dam north is the Madera Canal and south the Friant-Kern Canal, which transports water to regions that otherwise, would be shortage areas.

And they take, when the dam is close, all or virtually all the water of the San Joaquin.

The Irrigation District which are the petitioners in the third case to be heard today are the districts that are furnished by these two canals, one runs about 50 miles and the other about 150.

Now closing the Friant Dam and diverting the water via the canal would of course unless something else was done, cut off the irrigation water available to the lower San Joaquin Valley.

To take care of that, we have the second significant unit in the project here, the Delta-Mendota Canal which runs from the Delta where it hooks on to the Sacramento River, comes to the pumping plant of Tracy and is then raised and closed by gravity down here to a place called Mendota Pool.

There it is released and flows back up north again and water these lands, which previously received water of the San Joaquin River.


Archibald Cox:


There are maps in the briefs.


Archibald Cox:

I should think we could a quickly -- we've tried certainly as quickly as we can give, yes.

And I think there's another that I'm sure I can obtain copies of that are somewhat easier than the brief.

It was --


Archibald Cox:

It certainly will, yes, except for getting it reproduced if we have to.

We left -- which way to do it.