Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Public Rights in Water: Equal Footing Doctrine

Principles of the Equal Footing Doctrine


When each of the original Thirteen Colonies declared their independence, they "became themselves sovereign; and in that character hold the absolute right to all their navigable waters and the soils under them for their own common use."

Martin v. Waddell, 41 U.S. 387, 410 (1842). 

Those States entering the Union after 1789 did so on "equal footing" with the original Thirteen, possessing the same ownership over sovereignty lands.  

Pollard v. Hagan, 44 U.S. 212, 228-229 (1845).  

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.