274 U.S. 488 (1927), 14, New York v. Illinois & Sanitary District of Chicago

Docket Nº:No. 14, Orig.
Citation:274 U.S. 488, 47 S.Ct. 661, 71 L.Ed. 1164
Party Name:New York v. Illinois & Sanitary District of Chicago
Case Date:May 31, 1927
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 488

274 U.S. 488 (1927)

47 S.Ct. 661, 71 L.Ed. 1164

New York


Illinois & Sanitary District of Chicago

No. 14, Orig.

United States Supreme Court

May 31, 1927

Argued April 25, 1927



1. In a bill for an injunction to restrain diversions of water from the Great Lakes on the ground that the diversions will impair navigable capacity of the lakes and connected rivers and thereby obstruct and burden commerce to the serious injury of the plaintiff state, a paragraph setting up possible interference with water power development, but not showing any existing or definitely projected use of the waters for that purpose with which the diversions might interfere, should be stricken from the bill without prejudice. P. 490.

2. A suit for an injunction must rest on actual or presently threatened injury. Id.

3. This Court cannot consider abstract questions. Id.

Motion to strike a paragraph from the plaintiff's bill, sustained.

Page 489

VANDEVANTER, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE VAN DEVANTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a bill in equity brought in this Court by the State of New York against the State of Illinois and the Sanitary District of Chicago to enjoin them from continuing a very substantial diversion of water from Lake Michigan. The character and purpose of the diversion are shown in Sanitary District of Chicago v. United States, 266 U.S. 405, and do not call for special comment now. The greater part of the bill proceeds on the theory that the diversion impairs the navigable capacity of the Great Lakes and the rivers leading from one lake to another and then to the Atlantic Ocean, and thereby obstructs and burdens commerce over these waterways to the serious injury of the plaintiff state and her people. To this part of the bill the defendants have answered, and evidence on the issues so framed has been or is being taken before a special master. The bill, in its third paragraph, attempts to set up another injury from the diversion. The paragraph has not been answered, but is assailed by a motion to strike it out. The Court has heard oral argument on the motion, and will now rule on it.

The third paragraph of the bill apparently proceeds on the theory that the diversion may interfere with or prevent the use of the waters of the Niagara and St.Lawrence Rivers by the plaintiff state and her...

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