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Property Keyed to Saxer
Hawai’i Housing Authority v. Midkiff
Citation:467 U.S. 229 (1984).
In the 1960’s, 47% of the land in Hawai’i was owned by only 72 landowners. The rest of the land was owned by the federal and state governments. To address this land ownership oligopoly, the Hawai’i Legislature passed the Land Reform Act of 1967(the “Act”). The Act created a condemnation plan to seize land from these 72 landowners and redistribute it more evenly among the general population, namely their tenants. Under the plan, a tenant could file an application for condemnation with the Defendant, the Hawaii Housing Authority, and the state would then condemn the property. Next, the Defendant would sell the condemned land to the tenant who had applied for fee simple ownership. This process reduced the tax burden on the 72 landowners. As such, the landowners received compensation for the sale, but with a lot lower of a tax burden. The Plaintiffs, Midkiff and other landowners, filed suit in federal court on the grounds that the Act was unconstitutional as it violated the “public use” requirement of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
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