Texas v. Louisiana
426 U.S. 465 (1976)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Texas v. Louisiana, 426 U.S. 465 (1976)

Texas v. Louisiana

No. 36, Orig.

Argued January 19, 1976

Decided June 14, 1976

426 U.S. 465

ON EXCEPTIONS TO REPORT OF SPECIAL MASTER

Syllabus

Louisiana's exception to the portion of the Special Master's report that marks the boundary line between Louisiana and Texas in the Sabine River as it enters into Sabine Lake through the "middle pass," rather than in the geographic middle of the "west pass," is overruled, where the Special Master's determination is consistent with this Court's rejection of the thalweg doctrine in Texas v. Louisiana,410 U. S. 702; and Texas' exceptions to the Special Master's delimitation of the lateral seaward boundary are overruled, where the Special Master, after having correctly concluded that there has never been an established offshore boundary between the States, correctly applied the Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone, Arts. 12 and 8 of which clearly require that the median line be measured with reference to the jetties at the mouth of the Sabine River.

PER CURIAM.

We have already decided that the relevant boundary between the States of Texas and Louisiana is the geographic

Page 426 U. S. 466

middle of Sabine Pass, Sabine Lake, and Sabine River from the mouth of the Sabine in the Gulf of Mexico to the thirty-second degree of north latitude. 410 U. S. 410 U.S. 702 (1973). We have also held that all islands in the east half of the Sabine River when Louisiana was admitted as a State in 1812, or thereafter formed, belong to Louisiana. Delimitation of the boundary and decision as to ownership of the islands in the west half of the Sabine were deferred pending further proceedings before the Special Master in which the United States was invited to participate. Id. at 410 U. S. 712-714.

The litigation subsequently was enlarged upon the motion of Louisiana to include a determination of the lateral seaward boundary between Texas and Louisiana, and Texas and the United States extending into the Gulf of Mexico. 414 U.S. 904 (1973). [Footnote 1] Pleadings relating to the lateral boundary were filed by the States and by the United States. The United States also claimed title to six of the islands in the western half of the Sabine, 414 U.S. 1107 (1973); it subsequently amended its complaint, however, to withdraw its claim to all islands except one identified as "Sam." 416 U.S. 903 (1974). The city of Port Arthur, Tex., was permitted to intervene for purposes of protecting its interests in the island claims of the United States. 416 U.S. 965 (1974).

Page 426 U. S. 467

After hearings on referral, the Special Master has concluded and recommends:

"1) That the boundary between the States of Texas and Louisiana from 32

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