Letters from the West

Scalia comes to Boise to talk at water law conference

Hot off his decision limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas regulation Monday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia announced he will speak in at the Boise Centre on the Grove Aug. 25.

Scalia will speak at a one-day conference marking the end of the 27-year Snake River Basin Adjudication sponsored by the Idaho Supreme Court, the Kempthorne Institute and the University of Idaho College of Law. The conference brings together nationally known water law experts discussing the historic adjudication of surface and groundwater rights in Idaho’s Snake River Basin.

I wrote about the adjudication in a package that ran in Business Insider in May.

Scalia will speak after a reception followed by a ceremonial signing of the final unified decree of 158,000 separate rights to use water. A panel discussion of the future of water policy is scheduled for Aug 26.

Former Interior Secretary and Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne invited Scalia to attend the celebration.

“I had the pleasure of meeting him as governor and was honored to have him swear me in as Secretary of the Interior,” Kempthorne said. “The Justice’s writings, scholarship and jurisprudence have long been admired by Idahoans, and it is an honor for us to have him help us celebrate one of this nation’s major achievements in water management.”

Idaho Supreme Court Justice Roger Burdick, who presided over the Snake River Basin Adjudication, said the celebration recognizes the importance of the largest adjudication of its kind in the nation’s history.

“Justice Scalia’s impact and intellect are well documented and bring gravitas to this celebration of cooperation among the Idaho legislature, numerous governors’ offices, and the Idaho judiciary in our effort to catalog Idaho’s water rights,” Burdick said.

Registration for the event will be available by mid-June.