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U.S. Supreme Court

Dissenting in Water Rights Case, Justice Scalia Renames the People of Wyoming

Posted May 4, 2011 5:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Justice Antonin Scalia was the lone dissenter when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for Wyoming on Monday in a dispute over water rights.

Scalia continued his contrary ways when he referred to Wyoming residents as “Wyomans,” the Odd Clauses Watch blog reports. Scalia inserted an asterisk next to the word and explained in a footnote:

“The dictionary-approved term is ‘Wyomingite,’ which is also the name of a type of lava, see Webster’s New International Dictionary 2961 (2d ed. 1957). I believe the people of Wyoming deserve better.”

Scalia argued the majority incorrectly interpreted a 1950 compact with Montana when it held that Wyoming did not violate the agreement.

Montana had claimed that because of better irrigation systems, Wyoming was reducing the amount of wastewater returned to the river system and therefore using more water. The majority opinion (PDF) held Wyoming did not violate the agreement, as long as it watered the same acreage as it did in 1950.

Hat tip to Above the Law.

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