In Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff (467 U.S. 229 (1984)), it turned out that almost half of the property in the entire State of Hawaii was owned by only 72 people! It allowed coalitions of lessees to petition the State to use eminent domainto take land away from the landlords and sell it to the lessees. The landlords argued that this was not a public purpose because it directly took away land from one private person to give it to another private person.
- The US Supreme Court found that there was a public social purpose to the act since it corrected a significant social inequity.
- “The public use purpose of the Takings Clause is coterminous with the scope of the sovereign’s police power.”
- That’s a pretty broad scope.
- This case was a continuation of Berman v. Parker (348 U.S. 26 (1954)), which helped to establish that the government can take property via eminent domain even though the intent is to resell the property to another private owner. As long as there is a justifiable public policy purpose.
- “It is only the taking’s purpose, not it’s mechanics, that matters in determining the public use.”