State v. Norton
On January 5, 2005, the State of Alaska filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the final rule implementing the mandate in a prior Alaska Native subsistence case, John v. United States. The prior case, in which NARF represented Katie John, an Alaska Native, established that the United States must protect subsistence uses of fisheries in navigable waters where the United States possesses a reserved water right. In this new lawsuit, the State challenges the Federal agencies' implementation of the mandate by arguing that the reserved waters doctrine requires a quantification of waters necessary to fulfill specific purposes. Katie John immediately filed a motion for limited intervention for purposes of filing a motion to dismiss for failure to join an indispensable party. The United States filed a motion to transfer venue to the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska in February, 2005. Judge Collyer entered an Order on July 9, 2005 transferring the case to the federal court in Alaska. The case was then consolidated with John v. Norton (below).The issues in the two cases were bifurcated for briefing with the State's claims addressed first. On May 17, 2007, the district court entered an Order upholding the agency's rule-making process identifying navigable waters in Alaska that fall within federal jurisdiction for purposes of Title VIII's subsistence priority.