The Supreme Court held that the federal government, not the states, had full dominion and mineral rights over the three-mile strip of submerged coastal lands.
The United States sued California in order to establish federal sovereignty over the offshore area three miles seaward from the low-water mark. Until then, the states had exercised de facto control over the area. The question was important because of huge oil and gas reserves that were being discovered. Speaking for a 6-3 majority, Justice Hugo L. Black
Powell v. Alabama
Reversals of Court decisions by Congress
States’ rights and state sovereignty
Tidelands oil controversy