John Suthers, Colorado’s attorney general, headed to the U.S. Supreme Court today to go to battle with Kansas in a water dispute that has been going on for more than a century. It is the first time that Suthers, formerly the U.S. attorney for Colorado, former head of the Department of Corrections, former 5th Judicial District attorney and recent correspondent from the Republican National Convention, has been before the highest court in the land.
Today’s argument is the final phase in a longtime dispute with Kansas over water from the Arkansas River and has a potential price tag for Colorado of $9.2 million. As the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, in 1985 Colorado lost the lawsuit to Kansas after the courts ruled that Colorado was illegally pumping water in violation of the Arkansas River Compact. Now Kansas wants Colorado to pay another $9.2 million in legal costs from that lawsuit.
This weekend Suthers described his anticipation of arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court in a television interview with his hometown station, KKTV in Colorado Springs. In all, Suthers expects he’ll have only minutes to make his case.
“What happens in an argument like this, you get about a sentence into it and then the court starts asking you questions, and that takes up your whole half-hour,” said Suthers.