Idaho ex rel. Evans v. Oregon

PETITIONER: Idaho ex rel. Evans
LOCATION: Court of Common Pleas for Lake County, Ohio

DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)

CITATION: 444 US 380 (1980)
ARGUED: Nov 26, 1979
DECIDED: Jan 21, 1980

David H. Leroy - on behalf of the Plaintiffs
James A. Redden - on behalf of the Defendants
Louis F. Claiborne - as amicus curiae
Slade Gorton - on behalf of the Defendants

Facts of the case


Media for Idaho ex rel. Evans v. Oregon

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 26, 1979 in Idaho ex rel. Evans v. Oregon

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - January 21, 1980 in Idaho ex rel. Evans v. Oregon

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in No. 67 Original, Idaho against Oregon and Washington will be announced by Mr. Justice Rehnquist along with 78-990, United States against Bailey and United States against Cogdell.

William H. Rehnquist:

In the State of Idaho Original case, the State of Idaho has invoked this Court's original jurisdiction in a suit against the States of Oregon and Washington.

Idaho seeks equitable apportionment of various runs of anadromous fish migrating from the Pacific Ocean to Idaho by way of the Columbia and Snake River.

According to Idaho fishermen in Oregon and Washington which are located downstream from Idaho are taking more than their fair share of fish that would otherwise return to Idaho to spawn.

We referred the case to a Special Master who has recommended that Idaho's complaint be dismissed because the United States government was not a party to the suit.

The Special Master believes that the United States was a necessary party because it regulated fishing in the Pacific Ocean.

Because it controlled the dams over which the migrating fish must pass on their way to Idaho and because it acts as trustee for various tribes of Indians who also are entitled to a portion of the fish.

Contrary to the Special Master's recommendation, we hold that this suit can proceed even if the United States is not a party.

Neither the government's regulation of the ocean fishery not its control of the dams would prevent this Court from allocating to Idaho a portion of those fish now being taken by non-Indian fishermen in Oregon and Washington.

Nor would the Indian's right to take fish necessarily affect or be affected by the narrowly drawn decrees sought by Idaho.

We therefore sustain Idaho's exceptions to the Special Master's report and remand the case to him for further proceedings.

Mr. Justice Stewart and Mr. Justice Marshall dissent.