Second High Court Hearing For Florida-Georgia Water War


WASHINGTON: The Supreme Court tried Monday to inject some mystery into its second consideration of a long-running dispute between Georgia and Florida over water that flows from the Atlanta suburbs to the Gulf of Mexico.



Invoking Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle, the justices puzzled over Florida’s claims that blame for the decimation of the state’s oyster industry lies with Georgia farmers who use too much water from the Flint river.

法官们援引阿加莎·克里斯蒂(Agatha Christie)和亚瑟·柯南·道尔(Arthur Conan Doyle)的话,对佛罗里达州声称该州牡蛎产业的毁灭应归咎于佐治亚州的农民,他们从弗林特河取水太多,感到困惑。


By the time the Flint joins with the Chattahoochee river to form the Apalachicola river at the Florida line, too little is left for Florida’s once lucrative oyster fishery.




Georgia says the fault lies with overharvesting of oysters, historic droughts and mismanagement, among other reasons.



Chief Justice John Roberts said many factors could have played a part, comparing the situation to Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.

首席大法官约翰·罗伯茨(John Roberts)表示,许多因素可能起到了作用,他将这种情况与克里斯蒂在东方快车上的谋杀案相提并论。


A lot of things took a stab at the fishery… But you cant say that any one of those things is responsible for killing the fishery, Roberts said.



Justice Clarence Thomas gave the dispute between the two states, and their differing claims about how much water even is at issue, a title in the manner of Doyle’s tales about Holmes, “the case of the disappearing water.

法官克拉伦斯·托马斯(Clarence Thomas)给两个州之间的争端,以及他们在争议中到底有多少水的不同主张,以道尔关于福尔摩斯的故事的方式给出了一个标题,名为“消失的水的案件”。


Florida is seeking a court order forcing Georgia to limit its use of water from the Flint. When the justices first heard the dispute three years ago, Florida also was claiming that the Atlanta area’s consumption of water from the Chattahoochee river also played a big role in the reduced flows in Florida, but that claim has fallen out of the case, Gregory Garre, Florida’s lawyer, said Monday in arguments that were held via telephone because of the coronavirus pandemic.

佛罗里达州正在寻求法院命令,迫使佐治亚州限制使用弗林特河的水。佛罗里达州的律师格雷戈里·加雷(Gregory Garre)周一在电话辩论中表示,当法官们三年前首次审理这起纠纷时,佛罗里达州还声称亚特兰大地区对查塔胡奇河(Chattahoochee River)的用水量也是佛罗里达州流量减少的重要原因,但这一说法已被排除在本案之外。由于冠状病毒的流行,佛罗里达州通过电话进行了辩论。


I guess I would say in closing its hard to imagine New England without lobsters or, say, the Chesapeake without crabs, but, in effect, thats a future that Apalachicola now faces when it comes to its oysters and other species, Garre said.



Last year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted unanimously to shut down oyster harvesting in Apalachicola Bay through the end of 2025 because of a dwindling oyster population.



Craig Primis, representing Georgia, urged the justices to end the case in his state’s favor because Florida had not conclusively proved that its northern neighbor is to blame for the problems on the Apalachicola.

代表佐治亚州的克雷格·普里米斯(Craig Primis)敦促法官们以有利于佐治亚州的方式结束此案,因为佛罗里达州尚未最终证明其北方邻国应为阿巴拉契科拉号的问题负责。


Florida’s lawsuit against Georgia was filed directly in the Supreme Court, which is mainly an appellate court but hears disputes between states. The court appointed a special master to evaluate the case, and he initially recommended that Georgia should prevail.



But three years ago, the justices voted 5-4 to give Florida another chance to prove its case.



The court appointed a new special master, who also recommended the court side with Georgia. Florida’s objections to that recommendation are at issue in the Supreme Court.



The outcome could come down to the views of the two newest justices, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, who were not yet on the court when it heard the dispute in 2018.

结果可能归结为两位最新大法官布雷特·卡瓦诺(Brett Kavanaugh)和艾米·科尼·巴雷特(Amy Coney Barrett)的观点,他们在2018年审理这场纠纷时还不在最高法院。


The justices they replaced, Anthony Kennedy and the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, both voted with Florida.

他们取代的大法官安东尼·肯尼迪(Anthony Kennedy)和已故的露丝·巴德·金斯伯格(Ruth Bader Ginsburg)都投票支持佛罗里达州。


Kavanaugh asked similar questions of both sides that made it hard to assess how he might vote.



Barrett wondered whether Georgia could take some steps without incurring too much expense to help revive Apalachicola oysters. How do we put a price on an environmental benefit like that? she asked.



A decision is expected by late June.