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Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff

Significance, Supreme Court Rules That Public Purpose, Not Public Use, Determines Constitutionality Of A Government Taking Of Land


Hawaii Housing Authority


Frank E. Midkiff

Appellant's Claim

That the Hawaii Land Reform Act of 1967, which uses condemnation procedures to redistribute landholdings, violates the Fifth Amendment requirement that government takings must be for public use.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Lawrence H. Tribe

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Clinton R. Ashford

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger, Sandra Day O'Connor (writing for the Court), Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

None (Thurgood Marshall did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

30 May 1984


Finding that there needs only to be a rational relationship between the taking and some purpose that will benefit the public, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the act.


Levy, Leonard W., ed. Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. New York: Macmillan, 1986.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988