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U.S. Supreme Court won't hear Lake Michigan shoreline dispute

Nicholas P. Janzen

The U.S. Supreme Court said it won’t hear a case over access to Lake Michigan’s shoreline. The announcement on Monday, once again, upholds the public’s right to use the beach in front of private property in Indiana.

It’s safe to say we’ve been here before. In 2018, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled the public can use the shoreline up to where the high-water mark usually hits the beach. Property owners in the case took their appeal all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019, but the Supreme Court wouldn’t hear it.

It also turned away this latest case, where a different group of property owners — Randall and Kimberley Pavlock and Raymond Cahnman — said the state “took” part of their property when it made the 2018 ruling and changed their experience of the beach.

A federal appeals court ruled in May that the plaintiffs couldn’t have something taken away from them that wasn’t theirs in the first place — upholding the Indiana Supreme Court decision. The U.S. Supreme Court’s records didn’t say why it wouldn’t hear the case.

Contact reporter Rebecca at or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

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Rebecca Thiele