345 U.S. 369 (1953), 5, New Jersey v. New York

Docket Nº:No. 5, Original, October Term, 1950
Citation:345 U.S. 369, 73 S.Ct. 689, 97 L.Ed. 1081
Party Name:New Jersey v. New York
Case Date:April 06, 1953
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 369

345 U.S. 369 (1953)

73 S.Ct. 689, 97 L.Ed. 1081

New Jersey


New York

No. 5, Original, October Term, 1950

United States Supreme Court

April 6, 1953

Argued March 9, 1953




New Jersey brought an original suit in this Court against the State of New York and the City of New York to enjoin a proposed diversion of Delaware River water by the City of New York from tributaries within the State of New York. Pennsylvania intervened pro interesse suo and participated actively in the litigation. In 1931, this Court entered a decree, 283 U.S. 805, enjoining the State of New York and the City of New York from diverting more than a specified amount of water per day and providing that any party might apply for a modification of the decree at any time. In 1952, the City of New York, with the approval and support of the State of New York, moved to modify the decree so as to provide for the diversion of additional quantities of water. New Jersey and Pennsylvania filed answers opposing such modification. Subsequently, the City of Philadelphia moved for leave to intervene, asserting its interest in the use of Delaware River water and pointing to the recent grant of a Home Rule Charter as justification for intervention at this point.

Held: the motion for leave to intervene is denied. Pp. 370-375.

(a) Since Pennsylvania is a party to this suit, which involves a matter of its sovereign interest, it must be deemed to represent all of its citizens and creatures. Kentucky v. Indiana, 281 U.S. 163. Pp. 372-373.

(b) An intervenor whose State is already a party to an original action has the burden of showing some compelling interest in its own right, apart from its interest in a class with all other citizens and creatures of the State, which interest is not properly represented by its State, and Philadelphia has not met that burden. Pp. 373-374.

(c) That Philadelphia now has a Home Rule Charter and is now responsible for her own water system does not require a different result, since that responsibility is invariably served by the Commonwealth's position. P. 374.

(d) The presence in this litigation of New York City, which was joined as a defendant to the original action, is not a sufficient justification for permitting the City of Philadelphia to intervene. Pp. 374-375.

Page 370

Per curiam opinion.


The City of Philadelphia has moved this Court for leave to intervene in this original action concerning distribution of Delaware River water. Argument was heard on the motion on March 9, 1953, with all interested parties appearing.

The suit, addressed to this Court's original jurisdiction, was brought by the New Jersey, in 1929, against the New York and the City of New York, praying for injunctive relief against a proposed diversion of Delaware River water from tributaries within the New York. New Jersey joined the City of New York as a defendant, because the City, acting under State authority, was planning the actual diversion of the water

Page 371

for its use. The Pennsylvania immediately petitioned for leave to intervene pro interesse suo. Leave to intervene was granted upon condition that the Commonwealth file a statement of her interest in the cause and of...

To continue reading