Today Justice Barrett, writing for a unanimous Supreme Court, concluded that the State of Florida had not shown that the State of Georgia was using more than its fair share of the region's water to the detriment of Florida's oyster population. This result wasn't particularly surprising -- two Special Masters had already found that the State of Florida had not proved its case.
Those of us in the east are not used to legal disputes over insufficient water resources. Such disputes have been common in the west for generations. Climate change is most certainly going to change that fact. Justice Barrrett notes that 2013 was the third year of drought in the southeast region in ten years. So this is unlikely to be the last time the Supreme Court is asked to decide the rights of competing states to what has become the world's most precious resource.
And for those of you interested in the doctrine of judicial restraint I note that Justice Barrett's opinion includes this nugget: "Of course, the precise causes of the Bay’s oyster collapse remain a subject of ongoing scientific debate. As judges, we lack the expertise to settle that debate and do not purport to do so here. Our more limited task is to evaluate the parties’ arguments in light of the record evidence and Florida’s heavy burden of proof."