Peter G. Berris

Document Type

Supreme Court Commentaries

Publication Date



Original Jurisdiction, Interstate Disputes, Aquifer Groundwater

Subject Category

Constitutional Law | Supreme Court of the United States


This commentary explores the legal background and potential ramifications of Mississippi v. Tennessee: an original jurisdiction case involving a dispute over aquifer groundwater. Although the Supreme Court has addressed water disputes between states in the past, Mississippi v. Tennessee is the first such case to center exclusively on groundwater. As a result the Court has the opportunity to resolve a question of great relevance in an era where access to water is a recurring news story; is aquifer groundwater an interstate resource subject to equitable apportionment, or an intrastate resource subject to state sovereign ownership.