(Essay Continues): What is the “Public Trust” and how does it affect beach access in Fairfield?
Maggie: a day-brightening smile...
5] ORIGINS AND HISTORY OF THE PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE (PART II)
England adopted the Public Trust Doctrine as common law, and the French Civil Code and Spanish civil law both subsequently acknowledged the concept of common property. In turn, the Public Trust Doctrine was imported into the 13 original U.S. colonies, and upon their independence, potentially became part of the fundamental law in each state. After the American Revolution, each of the original states succeeded to this sovereign right and duty: each thus became trustee of the tidelands within its borders for the common use of its people.
In so doing the American courts abolished the English system of royal prerogatives and reestablished and strengthened the full public trust concept. In 1821, the NJ Supreme Court revisited public trust law closer to the original Roman concept in deciding Arnold v. Mundy, by stating that the ownership of water and underlying lands transferred
to NJ citizens upon statehood.
The Public Trust Doctrine remains valid today as common law in jurisdictions where its principles have been enacted in statutory laws and ordinances to manage subject waters and lands. The first federal court decision affirming the doctrine was Martin v. Waddell in 1842 (41 U.S. 16 Pet. 367 367), finding that the public held a common right to fish in navigable and tidal waters of New Jersey because they and their underlying lands were owned by the state for the common use by the people. The Supreme Court ruled that the Magna Carta had settled the question of who owns fish and wildlife and that King Charles II did not have the authority to give away the “dominion and property” of lands in colonial America.The court further ruled that since the American Revolution the people held public trust responsibilities for fish and wildlife except for rights specified in the U.S. Constitution.
Maxx: EVERYone swims!
Regarded as the most important confirmation of the principles of public ownership, the signature public trust case was adjudicated in 1892: Illinois Central Railroad v. Illinois, 146 U.S. 387.In this case, the Supreme Court declared that the "Sovereign Lands" of a state are held in trust by the State for all present and future generations, and that such land may not be sold for development incompatible with uses covered by the Public Trust Doctrine.
The Illinois legislature had granted large sections of the Chicago harbor—including the bed of Lake Michigan—to the Illinois Central Railroad, which wanted to change use of the land.A succeeding legislature sought to revoke the grant, asserting it should never have been permitted. Parallel yet opposing arguments were debated; (and which offer example of possible conflict between concepts of "public interest" and "public trust"). Could the legislature appropriate the State of its "ownership" of submerged lands, and of the resultant control of those waters? Conversely, could the railroad "hold" these lands and control the waters (through the grant) against future control over them by the state?
The court held that the common law Public Trust Doctrine prevented the government from alienating the public right to the lands under navigable waters—except in the case of very small portions of land which would have no effect on free access or navigation—reaffirming that the legislature (an elected body subject to contemporary influence) could not divest the State of the control and management of the harbor and bestow it completely to a private corporation: to do so would be a gross perversion of the trust over the property under which it is held.
Zowie: (nearly) invisible man...
This case codified that, pursuant to the Public Trust Doctrine, while states do not own, they hold the waters of navigable streams and their non-navigable tributaries, submerged lands, and fishery and wildlife resources as natural resource assets “in trust for the benefit of all people” (citizens of the state). To fullfill this responsibility, these public resources must be maintained, managed, and used in a manner consistent with the use and preservation of public trust benefits, and as such, the doctrine forms the basis of modern fish and wildlife management metrics. Subsequent cases extended this public right further, to waters which were influenced by the tides regardless of whether or not they were strictly navigable.Later, this concept was applied to the natural resources (mineral or animal) contained in the soil and water over those public trust lands.
Max: gaze of a courser...
ENDNOTES (this page):
 Geer v. Connecticut, 161 U.S. 519 (1896); which dealt with the transportation of wild fowl over state lines. Geer held that the states owned the wild animals within their borders and could strictly regulate their management and “harvest”: “the right to preserve game flows from the undoubted existence in the State of a police power.”
And later (1913-1920) two acts of congress: the Weeks–McLean Act (the Migratory Bird Act of 1913) prohibited the spring hunting and marketing of migratory birds and the importation of wild bird feathers for women’s fashion (“millinery murder”). The act gave the Secretary of Agriculture power to establish hunting seasons nationwide, the first US law to regulate shooting of migratory birds. Owing to constitutional limitations it was replaced by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, (39 Stat. 1702, T.S. No. 628; 16 USC §703) and two Supreme Court rulings (the first ruled the 1913 Act unconstitutional and the second, [Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 416, 1920], upheld the 1918 Act as a use of the federal treaty making power to override the provisions of state law); before the role of Congressional Treaty Powers were classified as related to migratory birds and the Public Trust Doctrine concept applied to the management of migratory birds. The 1918 Act and later Supreme Court ruling gave the federal government a basis for directing the conservation and management of migratory birds resulting in the application of the Public Trust Doctrine in many treaties for the protection of migratory birds.
This essay is written for informational purposes, not as legal scholarship, researched from publicly available sources and government documents.
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Jessie: the shadowboxer
She would come back,
dripping thick water,
from the green bog. She would fall at my feet, and draw
the black skin from her gums,
in a hideous and wonderful smile— and I would rub my hands over
her pricked ears
and her cunning elbows, and I would hug the barrel of her
body, amazed at the unassuming
perfect arch of her neck.
It took four of us
to carry her into the woods. We did not think of music,
but anyway, it began to rain slowly.
Her wolfish, invitational half pounce. Her great and lordly satisfaction at having chased something. My great and lordly satisfaction at her splash of happiness as she barged through the pitch pines
swiping my face with her wild, slightly mossy tongue.
Does the hummingbird think he himself invented his crimson throat? He is wiser than that, I think. A dog lives fifteen years, if you’re lucky. Do the cranes crying out in the high clouds think it is all their own music?
A dog comes to you and lives with you in your own house, but you do not therefore own her, as you do not own the rain or the trees, or the laws which pertain to them. Does the bear wandering in the autumn up the side of the hill think all by herself she has imagined the refuge and the refreshment of her long slumber? A dog can never tell you what she knows from the smells of the world,
but you know, watching her, that you know almost nothing.
Honey: eyes as windows to a gentle soul
Does the water snake with his backbone of diamonds
think the black tunnel on the bank of the pond
is a palace of his own making?
She roved ahead of me through the fields,
yet would come back, or wait for me, or be somewhere. Now she is buried under the pines. Nor will I argue it, or pray for anything but modesty,
and not get angry. Through the trees
there is the sound of the wind, palavering. The smell of the pine needles,
what is it but a taste of the infallible energies?
How strong was her black body! How apt is her grave place. How beautiful is her unshakable sleep. Finally, the slick mountains of love break over us. —Mary Oliver: “Her Grave”
You can brighten the long, lonely day of a needy dog:consider volunteering at a shelter. Your used but servicable linens, towels, bathmats, or cushions can provide comfort while he waits. Need help affording veterinary care? click HERE • Find low-cost spay neuter services: click HERE
Food & Safety Recalls/FDA Advisories for Dog Foods: click HERE
To think about: American taxpayers spend more than $1 billion annually to fund municipal animal shelters.
In those facilities, 14,000 animals are killed each day, often brutally: even in archaic gas chambers...
many within merely hours of their arrival: why are they called shelters?