THE SUPREME COURT: Tidelands Decision

Back in 1953, Dwight Eisenhower's Republican Congress passed the Submerged Lands Act that awarded the oil-rich "tidelands" off U.S. shores to the states instead of the Federal Government—just as Ike had promised to do in his campaign. But the law had a basic flaw. It set a three-mile limit for Atlantic and Pacific states, yet allowed the states on the Gulf of Mexico—which has most of the under water oil—to claim up to three leagues (10.3 miles) of offshore land, provided that those boundaries existed "at the time such State became a member of the...

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