United States v. Louisiana
389 U.S. 155 (1967)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Louisiana, 389 U.S. 155 (1967)

United States v. Louisiana

No. 9, Orig.

Argued October 9, 1967

Decided December 4, 1967

389 U.S. 155

Syllabus

The Submerged Lands Act, which unconditionally permits each coastal State to claim a seaward boundary three geographical miles from its coastline, allows a State bordering on the Gulf of Mexico to claim its seaward "boundary as it existed at the time such State became a member of the Union." The latter grant, which is thus conditioned on a State's prior history, is subject to a three-league maximum limitation. In United States v. Louisiana,363 U. S. 1 (1960), this Court held that the State of Texas qualified for the three-league grant, but did not determine the coastline from which the grant was to be measured. Texas now makes the claim, which is disputed by the United States, that, for purposes of the three-league grant, its coastline extends to the seaward edge of artificial jetties in the Gulf, and that consequently it owns certain submerged lands lying more than three leagues from its natural shoreline.

Held: Texas' claim under the three-league grant must be measured by the boundary which existed in 1845, when Texas entered the Union, and cannot be measured from artificial jetties built long thereafter. Pp. 389 U. S. 157-161.

Page 389 U. S. 156

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