Supreme Court hears case testing boundaries of federal authority over Alaska waters
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a case questioning whether the federal government has authority over navigable waters in Alaska's national parks -- a case brought by a moose hunter barred from using his hovercraft by the National Park Service.
The case is largely specific to Alaska, where the moose hunter in question -- John Sturgeon -- argues that a provision the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act withholds authority from the federal government for setting the rules for waters in national parks.
The outcome of Wednesday’s arguments will be known in the next few months, but it appeared that Sturgeon has a fair shot of getting five of nine justices to agree to letting him pilot his hovercraft up the Yukon and Nation rivers once again.
Nevertheless, they didn’t discuss the specific hovercraft regulation much. The hourlong hearing focused more on the roots of federal and state authority and the intersection of perhaps conflicting federal laws.