November 4, 2022

High court to hear water dispute between Navajo, government

The high court said Friday it would review a lower court ruling in favor of the Navajo Nation, which spans parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.

US Supreme Court AP Members of the Supreme Court sit for a new group portrait following the addition of Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, at the Supreme Court building in Washington, Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. Bottom row, from left, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, and Justice Elena Kagan. Top row, from left, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Justice Neil Gorsuch, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The Supreme Court says it will hear a water dispute involving the U.S. government and the Navajo Nation.

The high court said Friday it would review a lower court ruling in favor of the Navajo Nation, which spans parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. The government signed treaties with the Navajo Nation in 1849 and 1868 that established the reservation. It was later expanded westward to the Colorado River, which forms the reservation's western boundary. Water from the Colorado River is at issue in the case.

The case dates back to 2003, when the tribe sued, alleging that the federal government in its Colorado River projects had failed to consider or protect water rights of the tribe. Most recently, a trial court dismissed the case but a federal appeals court allowed it to proceed. The federal government is challenging that result.

The Supreme Court also agreed to hear two other cases. One is a patent case in which biotechnology company Amgen sued Sanofi and Regeneron for patent infringement. The other is a $90 million trademark dispute involving controls used to operate heavy equipment such as cranes.

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