Thursday, October 18, 2018
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, November 10, 2017
Queen Sues: Feds Took Our Crown Lands
By Robert Thomas @ 11:38 PM :: 2950 Views :: Hawaii History

IMG_20171028_065248

Queen: Feds Took** Our Crown Lands!

by Robert Thomas, Inverse Condemnation Nov 10, 2017

Tomorrow, Saturday, November 11, 2017, is the 100th anniversary of the death of Hawaii's last monarch, Liliuokalani. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser has a story about the commemoration events

But here's a historical tidbit about her which our readers might find interesting: did you know that after she was deposed, and after Hawaii became a U.S. territory, the former queen sued the United States in what was then the U.S. Claims Court (now the U.S. Court of Federal Claims)? 

Her complaint wasn't quite a "takings" case (sorry for the click-baity headline),** but a claim that the federal government owed her in the neighborhood of $450,000 (what today would be about $11 million) for what looks like an accounting and constructive trust for the rents for the "crown lands," land formerly owned in fee simple by the monarch personally, but which at the time of the overthrow had become more like property of the office of the monarch, managed by a commission. The U.S. succeeded to these interests in the former crown lands at annexation. The foundational issue in the case was who had owned the former crown lands. Or perhaps more accurately, in what capacity did the owner hold those lands -- in fee simple or in trust? Liliuokalani claimed they were hers, and thus when the U.S. government succeeded to the Republic's title, the lands were subject to a constructive trust in her favor, personally.

Here's the complaint's prayer for relief:

Second: That the United States be decreed to be a Trustee of the Crown Lands herein before specified for the use and benefit of your petitioner so far as her equitable life interest in said Crown Lands is concerned.

Third: That the United States be decreed to pay to your petitioner said sum of Four hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($450,000.00), or in the alternative that the United States be decreed to account to your petitioner for the rents, profits and emoluments derived from said Crown Lands after deducting the necessary and proper expenses of managing the same, for the period of six years next preceding the date of filing this petition.

The Claims Court sustained the government's demurrer, concluding that crown lands were owned by the Hawaiian government prior to the overthrow in what looks like fee simple, and thus by 1910, the U.S. owned them the same way, not subject to the former queen's trust claim. Liliuokalani v. United States, 45 Cl. Ct. 418 (2010). The court concluded that the legal question of form of ownership had already been resolved by law prior to the overthrow: "[t]he Hawaiian Government in 1865 by its own legislation determined what the court is now asked to determine."

[T]he crown lands were treated not as the King's private property in the strict sense of the term. While possessing certain attributes pertaining to fee simple estates, such as unrestricted power of alienation and incumbrance, there were likewise enough conditions surrounding the tenure to clearly characterize it as one pertaining to the support and maintenance of the Crown, as distinct from the person of the Sovereign. They belonged to the office and not to the individual.

The Claims Court opinion hasn't quelled the scholarly and historical discussion about who owns the former crown lands (and in what capacity). The discussion rages on, most recently in the pages of the University of Hawaii Law Review.  

The epigram photo is the view out of our office window, looking down on Honolulu's historic district. At the center-left is Iolani Palace, where the former queen served her sentence after she was tried and convicted by the Republic's military commission. 

------------------

** Liliuokalani did raise takings claims in her December 19, 1898 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives protesting annexation, where she asserted "I especially protest against such assertion of ownership as a taking of property without due process of law and without just or other compensation."

 

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

Affordable Hawaii Coalition

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Conservative Alliance

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Senate Informer

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Hawaii Votes

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

Hunting, Farming and Fishing Assoc.

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

OHA Lies

Ohana Policy Group

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Copenull

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

TEA Party Maui

TFB Micronesia

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

United Veterans Hawaii

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT