Who knows what an l8th century federalist-minded judge might know about water law, but I bet he doesn’t have much interest in western water rights, as the American West was not an object of reality in the 1700s. Should the drought in the Colorado River watershed worsen, Gorsuch might also have something to say about how water scarcity is shared among states that did vote for his President (Arizona, Utah, Wyoming) , and states that did not (New Mexico, California, Nevada, Colorado). All are members of the Colorado River Compact of 1922.
It seems certain that political vendettas will be played out around us in the years ahead. You can already see them smoking on the horizon. In his confirmation hearing, Scott Pruitt questioned if California’s stringent air quality laws, which have done so much to reduce smog in LA, would be allowed under his EPA. That one remark set off a cascade of speculation about environmental state’s rights. It even prompted California’s former Republican environmental governor Arnold Swartzenegger, who set those auto emission standards, to tweet last week, “My Republican Colleague here is all about states’ rights – except the right to clean air and (sic) save lives from pollution.”