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Cherry v. Steiner

ELR Citation: 14 ELR 20676
Nos. No. 82-5765, 716 F.2d 687/(9th Cir., 09/22/1983) Aff'd

The court holds that the Arizona Groundwater Management Act (Act) is constitutionally valid. The plaintiffs are landowners in an area of Arizona designated by the Act as an Active Management Area, which entails a prohibition on increased extraction of groundwater. They challenged the constitutionality of the Act in district court, alleging that the Act worked a taking of their ownership rights to the groundwater beneath their property, that the Act violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses by establishing arbitrary classifications, and that other infirmities exist both in the Act itself and in the way it was promulgated. The district court granted summary judgment for the state, 14 ELR 20657.

The court begins by adopting the district court's opinion in most respects, addressing but three issues. First, the court holds that the Supreme Court's dismissal of the appeal of Chino Valley v. Prescott did not decide the constitutional issues that were before the district court, since the takings and due process elements of the state court decision appealed from were not necessary to that court's decision. Therefore, the district court was correct in considering the constitutional issues. Second, the district court did not improperly rely on logic and the law of other states in determining the pre-1980 state of Arizona law; it simply used those tools to buttress its understanding of the law. Finally, the court holds that the district court improperly applied the enrolled bill doctrine, but nevertheless holds that the Act is not void for improper reference to extrinsic documents because the maps referred to in the statute were on file in the Secretary of State's office when the governor signed the Act.

The full text of this opinion is aviliable from ELR (7 pp. $1.50, ELR Order No. C-1327).

Counsel are listed at 14 ELR 20657.

Fletcher, J.