MEMPHIS, Tenn. — At the top of the U-S Supreme Court’s docket are two major Mid-South legal cases with potentially far-reach implications.

One of them involves abortion rights in Mississippi and the other is a dispute over Memphis water.

In the first case heard by the court Monday, Mississippi has claimed that Shelby County and MLGW have been stealing its underground water, and they took this case to the Supreme Court.

Mississippi lawyers argue Memphis and Tennessee have been wrongfully taking more than 250 billion gallons of groundwater from within Mississippi since 1985.

Steven Mulroy is the Bredesen Professor of Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

“Well, certainly it could affect people who live in Memphis and Shelby County area because it might make water more expensive. It might cost the state of Tennessee hundreds of millions of dollars in damages if Mississippi prevails,” Mulroy said.

Mulroy said Tennessee has already won two previous decisions and believes the state is well-positioned going forward with the Supreme Court.

But MLGW was confident in a statement released by Gale Jones Carson, Vice President of Community and External Affairs for MLGW.

“We believe that today’s oral argument went well and remain hopeful that the Supreme Court will agree with our position and dismiss this case,” she said. 

The Supreme Court also will hear arguments December 1 in a case from Mississippi that tests whether all state laws that ban pre-viability abortions are unconstitutional. The case involves Dobbs versus Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“I’m paying close attention to it because it could change abortion rights throughout this country,” Mulroy said.

The court will hear arguments testing the Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. That time period would be a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.

“Roe v. Wade and the more recent decision of Casey are on the chopping block and could be substantially overruled or substantially be weakened and watered down, and that’s important to all of us,” Mulroy said.

It’s so important that Mulroy will have his constitutional law students studying the case as the Supreme Court weighs in this year.