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Hawaii Property Rights

Since the decision by the United States Supreme Court in Kelo v. City of New London many states across the country have taken measures to help protect the rights of private ownership.  The controversial Kelo decision held that a local government can take the private property of one person and give it to another private entity.  While the Court’s ruling was seen by many as a serious blow to citizen’s constitutionally protected rights of private property ownership, the decision prompted a number of states to initiate legislative reform to help curb eminent domain abuse.

The Castle Coalition has released a report, grading each of the states based on their efforts to protect private property owners and their rights based on changes in their respective state laws.  The Castle Coalition is the Institute for Justice’s nationwide grassroots property rights activism project that teaches home and small business owners how to protect themselves and stand up to abuse by governments and developers who seek to use eminent domain to take private property for their own gain.  Stated below is the letter grade, as given by the Castle Coalition, along with a description of the changes that have occurred since Kelo v. City of New London.

Hawaii Castle Coalition letter grade of

hawaii property rights

The state of Hawaii receives the lowest letter grade because it failed to pass any legislation. Before the landmark case of Kelo v. City of New London a 1984 condemnation case, Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff, upheld the “public use” provision in the state’s constitution. This case involved the taking of private land for re-distribution to other residents, and the case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The US Supreme Court upheld the decision that the public use provision in the state’s constitution was not violated, stating that the Hawaii Housing Authority had the right to exercise eminent domain.

Summary

Until the state of Hawaii commits to the protection of citizens and establishes legislative reform, the state holds the lowest possible letter grade.

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