Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ surprise recusal on Wednesday in a Florida property rights case may have been triggered by media inquiries about Stevens’ Fort Lauderdale property based on information provided by a group that filed a brief in the case.

The recusal came in Stop the Beach Renourishment Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which asked whether a state program aimed at restoring eroded beaches — and a state court ruling interpreting it — amounted to an unconstitutional taking. The replenished beach area belongs to the state which, property owners say, diminishes the value of their properties by turning beachfront houses into “beach view” properties.

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