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THE EVOLUTION OF THE PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE AND THE DEGRADATION OF TRUST RE- SOURCES: COURTS, TRUSTEES AND POLITICAL POWER IN WISCONSIN
Ecology Law Quarterly (2000)
  • Melissa K. Scanlan, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Abstract

The public trust doctrine is rooted in ancient Roman law and the Wisconsin Constitution. Ancient Roman jurists be- lieved that the natural law concept that the waters are common to all was not subject to the changing whims of legis- latures. Similarly, modern theorists assert that a constitutionally-based doctrine will be more insulated from politics. This Comment demonstrates the limits of these theories. The trust doctrine is not immutable. Based on interviews with the trustees of Wisconsin's water resources, this Comment uncovers the constraints on the trustees. It shows that trust resources are at risk due to politically-motivated decisions and lax enforcement.

Keywords
  • public trust doctrine,
  • water,
  • riparianism,
  • politics
Publication Date
2000
Citation Information
Melissa K. Scanlan. "THE EVOLUTION OF THE PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE AND THE DEGRADATION OF TRUST RE- SOURCES: COURTS, TRUSTEES AND POLITICAL POWER IN WISCONSIN" Ecology Law Quarterly Vol. 27 Iss. 1 (2000)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/melissa_scanlan/5/