IDAHO EX REL. EVANS V. OREGON, 444 U. S. 380 (1980)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Idaho ex rel. Evans v. Oregon, 444 U.S. 380 (1980)

Idaho ex rel. Evans v. Oregon

No. 67, Orig.

Argued November 26, 1979

Decided January 21, 1980

444 U.S. 380


Held: Failure to join the United States as a party to Idaho's action against Oregon and Washington to secure equitable apportionment of various runs of anadromous fish migrating between spawning grounds in Idaho and the Pacific Ocean, will not prevent this Court from entering an adequate judgment. Pp. 444 U. S. 387-393.

(a) None of the federal interests cited by the Special Master as rendering impossible an adequate judgment in the absence of the United States as a party -- the Government's control over the ocean fishery on the runs of the fish at issue, its management of the various dams that separate the spawning grounds in Idaho from the Pacific Ocean, and its role as trustee for the various Indian tribes with treaty rights in the fish at issue -- constitutes a sufficient reason for dismissing the action for the failure to join the United States as the Special Master recommends. Arizona v. California, 298 U. S. 558, and Texas v. New Mexico, 352 U.S. 991, distinguished. Pp. 444 U. S. 387-391.

(b) Washington's additional argument in favor of dismissing the complaint that any allocation of nontreaty fish to Idaho would abrogate an agreement between the Indian tribes and Oregon and Washington for managing the fish originating in the Columbia River System, is without merit, since such agreement only divides the available fish between treaty and nontreaty fishermen, and does not purport to allocate the nontreaty share among the various States. Pp. 444 U. S. 391-392.

(c) Washington's further assertion that, for some time, few if any fish have been taken from the runs at issue, and that, hence, any further restrictions on fishing in zones open to commercial fishermen will have no appreciable effect upon the number of fish arriving in Idaho, goes to the merits of Idaho's claim, and has little or nothing to do with the need to join the United States as a party. P. 444 U. S. 392.

Exceptions to Special Master's report sustained, and case remanded.

REHNQUIST, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER C.J.,and BRENNAN, WHITE, BLACKMUN, POWELL, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. STEWART and MARSHALL, JJ., filed a dissenting statement, post, p. 444 U. S. 393.

Page 444 U. S. 381

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