SOUNDOFF: Post your comments
Tennessee once used the same argument to reclaim land from Mississippi that Georgia is now using to reclaim land from Tennessee, Atlanta utility attorney Brad Carver says.
Carver has been working since May to build a case for Georgias legal right to land that lies a mile north of the current Georgia-Tennessee border.
For us, it is very interesting to see that (in 1817) Tennessee insisted on the 35th parallel to be their boundary with the state of Mississippi, Carver said. However, they seem to have different view when it comes to the state of Georgia, Carver said.
Carver is referring to the 19th-century dispute in which Tennessee claimed that its border with Mississippi should be moved about four miles south, to the 35th parallel. Tennessee argued that a Mississippi survey was flawed. The matter was settled in 1890, with Mississippi moving the border southward.
Today, Georgia lawmakers are using a similar argument to move Georgias border about a mile northward to the 35th parallel. The state is arguing that a survey is flawed.
A surveying error very similar to our situation here resulted in the problem between Tennessee and Mississippi, Carver said. Tennessee insisted for years that Mississippi correct the error and Mississippi finally did that in 1890.
If the Georgia-Tennessee border were moved, the southern portion of the Tennessee River would be in Georgia.
Georgias House and Senate last month passed a resolution asserting that a flawed 1818 survey mistakenly placed Georgias northern line just short of the Tennessee River, a river with about 15 times greater flow than the one Atlanta depends on for water.
CLICK HERE: Timeline for Georgia-Tennessee border war
Tennessee officials have scoffed at the proposal one went so far as to call Georgia Republicans idiots but Georgia lawmakers say theyre serious.
The plan faces stiff opposition from politicians in Tennessee, as well as criticism from environmentalists and others in Georgia who question the states priorities, namely its need for water.
Carver, who is credited for bringing Tennessees border dispute with Mississippi to the attention of Georgia lawmakers, said of Tennessees unwillingness to discuss Georgias challenge, I think that the state of Tennessee has clearly been inconsistent with their southern boundary.
This dates back, Carver said, to the 1802 cession agreement where the state of Georgia ceded all the territory for the states of Alabama and Mississippi to the federal government that the 35th parallel was intended to be the boundary for Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia with the state of Tennessee.
Carver weighed in on the possibility of the Supreme Court siding with Georgia by saying, Absolutely I think that Georgia has a strong legal case here. I dont think it is a slam-dunk but I think we have a lot of good arguments on our side.
Book talks about dispute: Check out Samuel Cole Williams book, Beginnings of West Tennessee, In the Land of the Chickasaws, 1541-1841, published in 1930. Chapter 14, North and South Boundaries details the Mississippi-Tennessee dispute.
A case for water: Many Tennessee lawmakers continue to argue against and dismiss Georgias claim as nothing more than a fanciful attempt to quench the parched conditions of the state. They even insist that Georgia has no legal hope of being taken seriously if the state chose to litigate the issue. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a case very similar to this in 2003 in Virginia v. Maryland (540 U.S. 56). The court sided with Virginia over its claim to the waters of the Potomac River. Maryland had said for years that it held sovereignty over the river and thus decided where its water could be routed. But the court said in a 7-2 decision that Maryland had failed to prove that Virginia had ever given up its claim to the river, thus Virginia had a legitimate claim to the water.
CLICK ON THESE LINKS