SUPREME COURT NOTEBOOK

Court won't take case of Dead Sea Scrolls defendant

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court won't take up the case of a blogger convicted of criminally impersonating his father's academic rivals on the subject of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The court on Tuesday declined to take the case of Raphael Golb, the son of University of Chicago professor Norman Golb.

The younger Golb was convicted of adopting aliases in derogatory emails and blog posts. That included sending emails that seemed like confessions of plagiarism by one of his father's key adversaries in a scholarly debate over the scrolls' origin. The scrolls contain the earliest known versions of portions of the Hebrew Bible.

Golb was sentenced in 2014 to two months in jail after New York's highest court tossed out some of his convictions.


Justices reject two gun rights appeals

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is rejecting two challenges by guns rights groups to California laws regulating firearms' sales.

The action Tuesday came less than a week after a gunman in Florida killed 17 people at a Florida high school.

The justices did not comment in leaving in place two rulings by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In one case, the appeals court upheld California's $19 fee for sales and transfers of guns. In the other, the court said California could require people to wait 10 days to buy a gun, even if they already owned one and their background check was completed sooner.

Justice Clarence Thomas issued a 14-page dissent in the background check case.


Court denies NC's riverbed rights claim on dams

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court is ending North Carolina's fight for a say in the operations and ownership of four hydroelectric dams under the theory the state has owned the riverbed since statehood and the country's independence.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied North Carolina's effort to reverse lower federal courts in a five-year legal fight over water rights and electricity revenues the dams generated.

North Carolina argued the public benefits promised when Alcoa Corp. built the four Yadkin River dams to power an aluminum smelter ended when the company closed the plant in 2007. Alcoa sold the dams to Cube Hydro.

The state last November separately challenged federal regulators' decision to issue a new license allowing the central North Carolina dams to generate electricity for commercial sale until 2055.


Wyoming must pay Montana in water dispute

By Amy Beth Hanson
Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered the state of Wyoming to pay Montana over $38,000 in damages and interest and $67,000 in court costs in a long-running dispute over water rights that affect farmers and ranchers on both sides of the border.

Attorneys general for the two states said Tuesday's decree provides clarity in implementing the 1950 Yellowstone River Compact as it applies to the Tongue River, discouraging future disputes.

"We are pleased to see this decade long dispute finally resolved, and we look forward to continued cooperation between our states under the Yellowstone River Compact," Tim Fox of Montana and Peter Michael of Wyoming said in a joint statement.

The order notes the compact "does not guarantee Montana a fixed quantity or flow of water, nor does it limit Wyoming to the net volume of water actually consumed in Wyoming prior to January 1, 1950," when the compact agreement was reached.

Montana must place a "call" for water from Wyoming when it does not believe it is receiving adequate water under the compact or does not believe the Tongue River Reservoir near Decker will fill to capacity before the end of the water year.

Upon receiving the "call," Wyoming must take action to ensure that only water users with pre-1950 water rights are diverting or storing surface water. However, Wyoming water users with post-1950 water rights are not required to give up previously stored water when Montana issues a call.

The order protects Montana's right to store up to 72,500 acre feet, or 23.6 billion gallons (89.4 billion liters) of water in the Tongue River Reservoir near Decker each water year, which ends each Sept. 30.

Montana has spent more than $5 million on the case since it sued Wyoming in 2007 over allegations it had been shorted on water during 15 years over the previous several decades, Fox's office said. The U.S. Supreme Court found Montana had been shorted a total of 1,356 acre-feet, or 442 million gallons (1.7 billion liters) of water in 2004 and 2006.

Wyoming has to pay the damages, interest and costs within 90 days and Montana can only use the money for improvements to the Tongue River Reservoir or related facilities in Montana, the court ruled.

Published: Thu, Feb 22, 2018

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