Robert G. James
Robert Gillespie James (born 1946) is a United States District Court judge, Western Division of Louisiana, and was one of the judges involved in a 2006 water rights legal case, Normal Parm v. Sheriff Mark Shumate.
In this case, on August 29, 2006, James has ruled against his own appointed Magistrate Judge James D. Kirk, who wrote that Federal law "...entitles the public to the reasonable use of navigable waters for all legitimate purposes of travel or transportation, for boating, sailing for pleasure, as well as for carrying persons or property for hire, and in any kind of watercraft the use of which is consistent with others also enjoying the right possessed in common." The result is that it is now considered criminal trespass for the American boating public to fish, or hunt above the ordinary high-water mark without riparian landowner permission. Strictly interpreting Federal law, James said that "the public has no 'right to fish and hunt on the Mississippi River.'"  The original case was the result of the arrests of several anglers who were fishing in Mississippi River floodwaters, which had covered the private property of the Walker Cottonwood Farm.  The case shows that the public trust rights associated with navigable waterways do not extend to "flooded" areas.
- US federal judge declares boating illegal in all US navigable waters
- Judge rules much of Mississippi River off-limits to anglers
- Many reports on this recent case claim that it makes pleasure boating illegal on every navigable river across the nation. This is not correct.