Kansas v. Colorado, 514 U.S. 673, 21 (1995)

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

Opinion of the Court

interest in present or future cases or controversies before the Administration or in a court of competent jurisdiction." App. to Report 116. The Special Master concluded:

"The 1980 Operating Plan provided benefits to both Kansas and Colorado which were separately bargained for. There is no evidence to support the claim that benefits to Kansas were in settlement of its well claims. Colorado received ample consideration under the agreement for the 1980 plan without a waiver of Kansas' well claims. The benefits received by Kansas under the plan should not be offset against compact violations, and should not be a bar to any of the Kansas claims in this case." Report 180-181.

We agree with the Special Master's resolution of Colorado's claim. Accordingly, we overrule Colorado's exception.


Finally, Colorado argues that Kansas is required to prove its well-pumping claim by clear and convincing evidence. Colorado's Exceptions 91. The Special Master, relying upon Nebraska v. Wyoming, 507 U. S. 584 (1993), concluded that the proper burden of proof for enforcing an interstate compact is the preponderance of the evidence standard. Report 70. The Special Master noted that the Nebraska Court had drawn a distinction between actions seeking to "modify" a judicial decree and actions seeking to "enforce" a judicial decree. See Nebraska, supra, at 592 ("[W]e find merit in [the] contention that, to the extent that Nebraska seeks modification of the decree rather than enforcement, a higher standard of proof applies"). The Special Master concluded that an action seeking to enforce an interstate compact stood on the same footing as an action enforcing a judicial decree, and therefore was subject to the "preponderance of the evidence" standard. Report 70.

We need not, however, resolve this issue. The Special Master concluded that "regardless of which burden of proof


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