Possession is 9/10ths of The Red Snapper Law
“Possession is nine/tenths of the law” goes the old adage which is usually invoked to claim ownership of a Super Bowl 43, Drew Brees jersey your drunk friend thinks he left at your house after your last Saints loss on Monday night football. But the adage is now coming to play in very serious debates between the State of Louisiana and our federal masters in DC. At issue is exactly where does the southern border of Louisiana end and “federal waters” begin?
Senator David Vitter and Rep Bill Cassidy are filing bills that will allow Louisiana to claim its southern border extends 3 leagues or ten miles into the Gulf of Mexico. This boundary is in dispute now because of the menacing encroachment by the Federal Leviathan’s fishery Gestapo which claim Louisiana is running out of red snapper (2)and so “angling citizens”… “there will only be NINE DAYS of snapper fishing this year, citizen”.
In nearby Texas, the submerged land boundary extends 3 leagues into the gulf. Why? because in United States vs Louisiana the Supreme Court ruled the Submerged Land Act granted TX(3) those leagues because she claimed them at the time she was admitted into the Union. That’s funny, according to the only surviving copy(4) of the Louisiana Constitution of 1812, which the then Orleans Territory ratified in January that year, BEFORE(5) being admitted into the union, “contained the following limits to wit… [Louisiana is] thence bounded by the Gulf of Mexico to the place of beginning, including all Islands within three leagues of the coast.”
This should place LA in identical conditions as Texas, unbeknownst to Vitter & Cassidy, along with 99% of the Who Dat nation. This is a shame because what is at stake are HUNDREDS of millions of dollars in oil & gas revenue which rightfully belongs to the sovereign people of this state. Vitter claims the feds should “grant” us rights to what they do not own to grant which is why I started this piece by observing that possession is 9/10ths of the law.
The case of United States vs Louisiana, 1960, the ruling contains the following findings “5. Texas having claimed a maritime boundary at three marine leagues from her coast when she was an independent republic prior to admission to the Union, and this boundary having been confirmed pursuant to the Annexation Resolution of 1845, Texas is entitled, under the Submerged Lands Act, to a grant of three marine leagues from her coast for domestic purposes. Pp. 363 U. S. 36-65.
6. Louisiana is entitled to submerged land rights to a distance no greater than three geographical miles from its coastlines, wherever those lines may ultimately be shown to be. Pp. 363 U. S. 66-79.”