Kansas v. Colorado, 514 U.S. 673, 3 (1995)

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Cite as: 514 U. S. 673 (1995)

Opinion of the Court

Campbell, Deputy Attorney General, and Leland E. Rolfs and Mary Ann Heckman, Assistant Attorneys General.

David W. Robbins, Special Assistant Attorney General of Colorado, argued the cause for defendant. With him on the briefs were Gale Norton, Attorney General, Stephen K. Erkenbrack, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Timothy M. Tymkovich, Solicitor General, and Dennis M. Montgomery, Special Assistant Attorney General.

Jeffrey P. Minear argued the cause for the United States. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Days, Assistant Attorney General Schiffer, Deputy Solicitor General Kneedler, and Patricia L. Weiss.*

Chief Justice Rehnquist delivered the opinion of the Court.

This original action involves a dispute between Kansas, Colorado, and the United States over alleged violations of the Arkansas River Compact. The Special Master has filed a report (Report) detailing his findings and recommendations concerning the liability phase of the trial. Both Kansas and Colorado have filed exceptions to those findings and recommendations. We agree with the Special Master's disposition of the liability issues. Accordingly, we overrule the parties' exceptions.


The Continental Divide in the United States begins at the Canadian border in the mountains of northwestern Montana. From there, it angles southeast through Montana and Wyoming until it enters Colorado. It then runs roughly due south through Colorado, following first the crest of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, and then shifting slightly west to follow the crest of the Sawatch Range. The Arkansas River rises on the east side of the Continental Divide,

*Joseph B. Meyer, Attorney General of Wyoming, Donald M. Gerstein, Assistant Attorney General, and Dennis C. Cook, Special Assistant Attorney General, filed a brief for the State of Wyoming as amicus curiae.


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