US Supreme Court pushes deadline on Lake Michigan beach case

The U.S. Supreme Court won’t decide until next year whether to consider arguments from residents of Chief Justice John Roberts’ Indiana hometown of Long Beach over ownership of the Lake Michigan community’s shoreline. The case could have a ripple effect for public and private property rights across the Great Lakes states.

The court is giving the Indiana attorney general’s office an extra two months for a response to the request from Don and Bobbie Gunderson of Long Beach, Indiana, for the Supreme Court review. That response is now due Jan. 11, The Times of Northwest Indiana reported.

The Gundersons want to appeal a February decision by the Indiana Supreme Court that set the ordinary high water mark as the boundary between state-owned land under Lake Michigan and private property. They contend their lakefront property extends to the water’s edge and that landowners have the right to limit who uses the beaches abutting their properties.

Roberts lived as a child in Long Beach, about 30 miles southeast of Chicago, from the 1960s until leaving for Harvard University in 1973.

The Gundersons argue that the ruling by Indiana’s high court, and a similar 2005 decision by the Michigan Supreme Court, upset a longstanding consensus in the Great Lakes states, which held that private ownership extended to the water’s edge, wherever that edge was at any given moment.

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