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Supreme Court of the United States
February 29, 1972, Argued ; April 24, 1972, Decided
No. 49, Orig.
[*93] [***717] [**1387] MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.
This is a motion by Illinois to file a bill of complaint under our original jurisdiction against four cities of Wisconsin, the Sewerage Commission of the City of Milwaukee, and the Metropolitan Sewerage Commission of the County of Milwaukee. The cause of action alleged is pollution by the defendants of Lake Michigan, a body of interstate water. According to plaintiff, some 200 million gallons of raw or inadequately treated sewage and other waste materials are discharged daily into the lake in the Milwaukee area alone. Plaintiff alleges that it and its subdivisions [**1388] prohibit and prevent such discharges, but that the defendants do not take such actions. Plaintiff asks that we abate this public nuisance.
Article III, § 2, cl. 2, of the Constitution provides: "In all Cases . . . in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction." Congress has [***718] provided in 28 U. S. C. [****5] § 1251 that "(a) the Supreme Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction of: (1) All controversies between two or more States."
It has long been this Court's philosophy that "our original jurisdiction should be invoked sparingly." Utah v. United States, 394 U.S. 89, 95.] We construe 28 U. S. C. § 1251 (a)(1), as we do Art. III, § 2, cl. 2, to honor our original jurisdiction but to make it obligatory only in appropriate cases. And the question of what is appropriate concerns, of course, the seriousness and dignity of the claim; yet beyond that it necessarily involves the availability of another forum where there is jurisdiction over the named parties, where the issues tendered may be litigated, and where appropriate relief may be had. We [*94] incline to a sparing use of our original jurisdiction so that our increasing duties with the appellate docket will not suffer. Washington v. General Motors Corp., post, p. 109.
Illinois presses its request for leave to file saying that the agencies named as defendants are instrumentalities of Wisconsin and therefore that this is a suit against Wisconsin which could not be brought in any other forum.
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406 U.S. 91 *; 92 S. Ct. 1385 **; 31 L. Ed. 2d 712 ***; 1972 U.S. LEXIS 107 ****; 4 ERC (BNA) 1001; 2 ELR 20201
ILLINOIS v. CITY OF MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN, ET AL.
Prior History: [****1] ON MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE BILL OF COMPLAINT.
Disposition: Motion denied.
interstate, original jurisdiction, pollution, nuisance, federal common law, rights, waters, navigable waters, federal court, abatement, political subdivision, decisions, parties, River, intervene, Sewerage, courts, sewage, suits
Civil Procedure, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, Exclusive Jurisdiction, Constitutional Law, The Judiciary, Jurisdiction, General Overview, Appeals, Appellate Jurisdiction, State Court Review, Diversity Jurisdiction, Citizenship, Amount in Controversy, Federal Questions, Preliminary Considerations, Federal & State Interrelationships, Federal Common Law, Governments, Legislation, Statutory Remedies & Rights, Jurisdictional Sources, Constitutional Sources, State & Territorial Governments, Claims By & Against, Environmental Law, Clean Water Act, Enforcement, Real Property Law, Nuisance, Types of Nuisances, Public Nuisances, Water Quality, Water Rights, Boundaries, Federal Versus State Law, Federal Preemption, Administrative Proceedings & Litigation, Nuisances, Strict Liability, & Trespasses