Hawaii Housing Authority versus Midkiff Essay

Hawaii Housing Authority versus Midkiff (1984) Majority Opinion was argued 26 Mar. 1984, decided 30 May 1984 with Justice J. O’Connor delivering the opinion of the Court. Hawaii Housing Authority v Midkiff (1984) stands as one of the Supreme Court’s most referenced explanations of the requirement that any governmental taking of private property must be for a “public use,” as set forth in the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution states that “…private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation.” This case was a direct a challenge to a Hawaii statute, the Land Reform Act of 1967, that attempted to undercut a landowning oligopoly that had long tied up land titles in the state. Midkiff was part of that that landowning oligopoly.The Land Reform Act of 1967 permitted the state of Hawaii to redistribute land by condemning and acquiring private property from landlords (the lessors) in order to sell it to another private owner, in this case, their tenants (the lessees). The Hawaii State Legislature passed the Land Reform Act after discovering that nearly forty-seven percent (47%) of the state was owned by only seventy-two (72) private land owners. That meant that only forty-nine percent of Hawaii was owned by the State and Federal Govermnet.The contested statute gave lessees of single family homes the right to invoke the government’s power of eminent domain to purchase the property that they leased, even if the landowner objected. The challengers of the statue (the land owners) claimed that such a condemnation was not a taking for public use because the property, once condemned by the state, was promptly turned over to the lessee (a private …

…udicial branch of the American government must be checked by the legislatures of states. To prevent instances like this from reoccurring, it is essential for state legislatures to take preventative steps and draft bills that would further limit the ability of the government to appropriate private property while still protecting private property owners. At the federal level, since it is abundantly clear from the case of Midkiff that the Supreme Court will defer to the Congress to define “public use,” a constitutional remedy needs to take place in the form of an amendment to the Constitution. It would be essential that an amendment to the Public Use Clause would specify the guidelines and standards of a “public use” to preserve the original intent of the legislative authors and provide the necessary private property protection to which all all Americans have a right.

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