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Supreme Court rules third parties may intervene in Carolina water dispute

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Wednesday ruled [opinion, PDF] in South Carolina v. North Carolina [Cornell LII backgrounder; JURIST report] that the Catawba River Water Supply Project (CRWSP), and Duke Energy Carolinas may intervene in the water dispute between the two states, but that the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, may not. A special master recommended [report, PDF] that all three parties be allowed to intervene in the lawsuit brought by South Carolina over water flows from the Catawba River. Justice Samuel Alito delivered the opinion of the Court:

Two of the three proposed intervenors have satisfied the standard for intervention in original actions that we articulated nearly 60 years ago in New Jersey v. New York. Accordingly, we overrule South Carolina's exceptions with respect to the CRWSP and Duke Energy, but we sustain South Carolina's exception with respect to the city of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Chief Justice John Roberts filed a separate opinion, concurring in the judgment and dissenting in part, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor.

The dispute concerns equitable apportionment of the Catawba River. The Court has original jurisdiction over the case under 28 USC § 1251 [text] because it is a dispute between two states. South Carolina and the US government argued that third parties should not be allowed to intervene because the states should speak for the interests of all their citizens.

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