The Real Deal Miami

Supreme court justice’s home could be affected by Florida beachfront property rights case

December 08, 2009 05:34PM

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens promptly announced his recusal in the Florida beachfront property rights case last Wednesday, after reports surfaced that he owns a home in Fort Lauderdale that would be affected by its outcome. The case, Stop the Beach Renourishment Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, asked whether a state program aimed at restoring eroded beaches
resulted in an unconstitutional takeover of beachfront land from
property owners. The homeowners claimed the program diminished the
value of their properties by turning beachfront houses into mere “beach
view” properties. Stevens’ recusal came after public documents were
sent to the Cato Institute, revealing that Stevens’ condominium
property is within a renourishment zone similar to the properties at
issue in the case, and was a surprise to many, given that Stevens had
already participated in earlier stages of the case. This is the second
case Stevens has recused himself from due to property he owns. Ten
years ago, Stevens did not participate in a case which examined the
“right to farm” statute in Iowa, where he owned a 200-acre farm.
[National Law Journal]