Texas v. New Mexico

LOCATION: Florida Department of Labor

DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-1987)

CITATION: 482 US 124 (1987)
ARGUED: Apr 29, 1987
DECIDED: Jun 08, 1987

Charlotte Uram - on behalf of the plaintiff
Renea Hicks - on behalf of the defendant

Facts of the case


Media for Texas v. New Mexico

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 29, 1987 in Texas v. New Mexico

William H. Rehnquist:

We will hear argument next in No. 65 Original, Texas versus New Mexico.

Ms. Uram, you on behalf of New Mexico, I understand, may proceed whenever you are ready.

Charlotte Uram:

That's correct.

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court, the heart of the current controversy under the Pecos River Compact lies in two issues.

First, whether the Court may decide the critical, the ultimate issue in this case, did man's activities in New Mexico cause all or part of the shortfall at the state line on the basis of inference or presumption?

Byron R. White:

I take it New Mexico accepts the determination of the shortage--

Charlotte Uram:

Yes, Your Honor.

Byron R. White:

--or the shortfall?

Charlotte Uram:

The master found that there were 340,000 acre feet departure.

We do not take exception.

So we can start there.

Charlotte Uram:

That's correct.

The second issue is whether the Court should order New Mexico to pay in the future water in excess of its compact obligation to make up for a shortfall from 1950 to 1983 when New Mexico's obligation was unknown.

As Justice White pointed out to the Court the master did recommend a 340,000 acre foot shortfall be determined here.

We take no exception to that.

What New Mexico does take exception to is that the master recommended that that entire amount of shortfall be presumed or inferred due to man's activities in New Mexico.

New Mexico also takes exception to the master's proposal for relief.

The master proposed actually four items for relief.

First, he proposed that there be prospective relief, and we do not take exception to that.

That is required under the compact.

But then he went on to propose, to recommend that New Mexico also be required to pay water and to pay in water for shortfalls from 1950 to 1983.

He recommended that New Mexico be required to pay that amount of water in a maximum time period of 13 years when the shortfalls accrued over a 34-year period.

And finally, he recommended that the Court order New Mexico to pay water interest at Treasury bill rates if New Mexico falls too far short.

Byron R. White:

How would that be determined?

Charlotte Uram:

He said it was to be determined according to the Treasury bill rate on the day when New Mexico is found to be--

Byron R. White:

Yes, but what would the interest rate be applied to?

Charlotte Uram:

--It would be applied to the 340,000 acre foot amount, whatever had been short.

Byron R. White:

What do you do?

You say 10 percent of 320,000 or so many acre feet?