United States v. Arizona,
295 U.S. 174 (1935)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Arizona, 295 U.S. 174 (1935)

United States v. Arizona

No. 18, original

Argued March 4, 1935

Decided April 29, 1935

295 U.S. 174


1. Assuming that the stretch of the Colorado River between Arizona and California involved in this case is navigable, Arizona owns the part of the bed that is east of the thread of the stream, and her jurisdiction in respect of the appropriation, use, and distribution of an equitable share of the waters flowing therein is unaffected by the Colorado River Compact or the federal reclamation law. But the title of the State is held subject to the power granted to Congress by the commerce clause, and, under that clause, Congress has power to cause to be built a dam across the river in aid of navigation. P. 295 U. S. 183.

2. Section 9 of the Act of March 3, 1899, forbidding the construction of any dam in any navigable river of the United States until the consent of Congress shall have been obtained and until the plans shall have been submitted to and approved by the Chief of Engineers and the Secretary of War, applies not only to acts of private persons, but also to the Acts of government officers. P. 295 U. S. 183.

3. There is no presumption that regulatory and disciplinary statutes do not extend to government officers. P. 295 U. S. 184.

Page 295 U. S. 175

4. The authority given by § 25 of the Act of April 21, 1904, to the Secretary of the Interior to divert waters of the Colorado River for the purpose of providing irrigation for irrigable lands in the Yuma and Colorado River Indian Reservations in Colorado and Arizona is not the "consent of Congress" required by § 9 of the Act of March 3, 1899, to legalize the construction of a dam across that river where navigable. P. 295 U. S. 184.

5. The clause of § 1 of the Boulder Canyon Project Act empowering the Secretary to construct a main canal connecting the Laguna Dam "or other suitable diversion dam" with the Imperial and Coachella Valleys does not authorize the building of, or in any respect apply to, the proposed dam here in question. P. 295 U. S. 186.

6. Under § 4 of the Act of June 25, 1910, no irrigation project contemplated by the Reclamation Act

"shall be begun unless and until the same shall have been recommended by the Secretary of the Interior and approved by the direct order of the President of the United States."

Held that executive action under the National Industrial Recovery Act relied on by the Government in this case to sustain the right to construct the dam in question was not approval by direct order of the President. P. 295 U. S. 187.

7. The National Industrial Recovery Act did not repeal the requirement of § 4 of the Act of June 25, 1910. P. 295 U. S. 188.

8. Section 202 of the National Industrial Recovery Act, directing the inclusion of river and harbor improvements in programs of public works prepared by the Administrator under the direction of the President, but with the proviso that no such improvements shall be "carried out unless they shall have heretofore or hereafter been adopted by the Congress or are recommended by the Chief of Engineers," must be read in harmony with the settled policy of Congress established by the Rivers and Harbors Acts, and, when so read, the proviso requires that the recommendation of the Chief of Engineers be based on examinations, surveys, and reports made in pursuance of those Acts and submitted to the Congress. P. 295 U. S. 188.

9. The Recovery Act does not require that such recommendations of the Chief of Engineers be made to the Administrator, instead of to Congress, nor empower the Administrator to initiate the preliminary examinations, etc. P. 295 U. S. 192.

10. The United States is without equity to enjoin a State from forcibly preventing the erection on her territory of a dam in navigable waters which has not been authorized by Congress. P. 295 U. S. 192.

Page 295 U. S. 176

Original suit by the United States to enjoin the Arizona from interfering with the construction by the Government of a dam across the Colorado River. The hearing was upon plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction and defendant's motion to dismiss the bill.

Page 295 U. S. 179

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