Supreme Court Declines To Review Challenge To Native Hawaiian Property Tax Exemptions

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BY ROBERT THOMAS – The Courrt has denied certiorari in Corboy v. Louie, No. 11-336, the case asking the Court to review the Hawaii Supreme Court’s dismissal of a challenge to the property tax exemptions conferred on lessees of Hawaiian Homesteads.

The petitioners claim this is an unconstitutional race-based classification, but the Hawaii Supreme Court dismissed for lack of standing (the petitioners had not applied for Hawaiian Homestead leases because they are ineligible to receive them).


Here’s the order, in the event you want to see it for yourself.

This case had been kicking around on the docket since December 2011, and it was only on the Term’s last day that the Court finally said no.



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Robert H. Thomas is one of the preeminent land use lawyers in Hawaii. He specializes in land use issues including regulatory takings, eminent domain, water rights, and voting rights cases. He has tried cases and appeals in Hawaii, California, and the federal courts. Robert received his LLM, with honors, from Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and his JD from the University of Hawaii School of Law where he served as editor of the Law Review. Robert taught law at the University of Santa Clara School of Law, and was an exam grader and screener for the California Committee of Bar Examiners. He currently serves as the Chair of the Condemnation Law Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on State & Local Government Law. He is the Hawaii member of Owners’ Counsel of America, a national network of the most experienced eminent domain and property rights lawyers. Membership in OCA is by invitation only, and is limited to a single attorney from each state. Robert is also the Managing Attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation Hawaii Center, a non-profit legal foundation dedicated to protecting property rights and individual liberties. Reach him at He is also a frequent speaker on land use and eminent domain issues in Hawaii and nationwide. For a list of upcoming events and speaking engagements.