Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The SRBA: It's finally over!

For folks who aren't from Idaho, the SRBA probably has some significance other than the Snake River Basin Adjudication.

How nice for you.

For Idaho, it has been 30 years of litigation.  It has produced almost a half of our appellate judges.  It was once deemed the "full employment for lawyers act."  It was pretty crazy amazing from a criminal defense lawyer's perspective.  Civil law is weird.  Money is weird.  Dealing with property rights man to man is weird.


The reason I mention it is because I have on a few occasions used SRBA opinions in arguments.  The SRBA is probably one of the better gauges for what Idaho Appellate judges will do in existence.  I'm not saying mention the SRBA every time you argue, but... maybe?

You can read about its demise here.  You can check out the history here.

The Snake River for out-of-staters is the massive river that wraps through southern Idaho (like a snake) emptying eventually into the mighty Columbia, after heading through Hell's Canyon, the deepest canyon in the US.  It is generally found down deep embankments and taunted early settlers on their way to Oregon dying of thirst in the desert.

But then FDR came and spent a bunch of money turning that desert into an agricultural zone using the Snake.  And then people got mad about water rights, and then this thing happened.

I think the most important thing to remember is this is the case where the judiciary put the smack down on the Legislative and Executive, who in turn promoted those who had sided with them while District Judges and placed them on the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Those judges are, in my lowly opinion, dangerous.  But they're still growing and learning, and perhaps the fact that the SRBA was successful, despite the justices occasionally throwing out laws and solutions wholesale as violations of the state Constitution (this happened, read about it), will teach them that its ok to be loyal to our charter.

Maybe.  Anyway, if you're a lawyer in Idaho, you really ought to learn about it.

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