Dickens Was a Piker!

          Most people are aware that in his book BLEAK HO– USE, Charles Dickens described an endless litigation that wended its way throught the British courts on and on to no purpose, bringing only resentment and ruin in its wake. Well folks, we now have a rival to that story. Check out the site of our fellow blogger, Robert Thomas, www.inversecondemnation.com Suffice it to say that it concerns the taking of water rights. Or something like that.

          We’d give you a thumbnail sketch of the controversy that Thomas describes, but our thumbnails aren’t big enough, to say nothing of our meager intellectual resources. So check out that blog, specifically the post enttitled Takings and the Hawaii Water Rights Backstory In Stop the Beach Renourishment:


          Suffice it to say that this litigation started in 1959, and technically, it is still going, though the conditions that gave rise to it to begin with, no longer exist and neither do the parties who started it all.

          The moral of it? Ambrose Bierce was right when, in his DEVIL’S DICTIONARY, he defined “litigation” as a process which one enters as a pig, and from which one emerges as a sausage.

          All this reminds us that in the bygone days, when your faithful servant taught first-year property law, he was fond of stresing the importance of using proper legal terminology, impressing on the tads that had they been studying law in Hawaii, they would have had to understand things like the Hawaii Supreme Court’s pronouncement in one of the cases comprising this litigation, that: ” Where one half of an ili kupono was maheled to a konohiki and the other half was retained by the King as crown land, a conveyance of the King’s half to the government, and the government’s subsequent conveyance does not make the whole of the ili an ili kupono.”

Don’t you just love those exotic Sandwich Islanders?