9th Circuit Court Hears Native Hawaiian Election Case
Grassroot Institute warns that we are closer to a Native Hawaiian tribe than ever before
News Release from Grassroot Institute
HONOLULU, HAWAII--June 17, 2016 --The challenge to the state's Native Hawaiian race-based election scheme moved forward today as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held a hearing in Honolulu to consider the case of Akina v. Hawaii.
The lawsuit, which was brought by four Native Hawaiians and two non-Hawaiian locals through the assistance of Judicial Watch, raises Constitutional issues regarding the use of race to qualify voters for elections and plebiscites related to the creation and approval of a Native Hawaiian tribal government. In addition, the Native Hawaiian plaintiffs have raised free speech questions related to the Roll's requirement that voters affirm the "unrelinquished sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people."
"What many people do not realize is that we are closer today to the creation of a state-sponsored Native Hawaiian government than we were on the day that we instituted this suit," stated Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and a plaintiff in the lawsuit. "That is why this issue is very much alive despite the dissolution of Na'i Aupuni. Neither the state nor the Office of Hawaiian Affairs--which are also defendants in this case--have indicated any desire to abandon the nation-building process. Only a permanent injunction preventing a race-based election would put a true end to the matter."
Dr. Akina continued: "The majority of Native Hawaiians, along with the general population of the state, do not support the use of public resources to form a race-based separatist nation. Our lawsuit is critical for preserving the Aloha Spirit in Hawaii."
"Finally, the Constitution and case law are clear in rejecting the race-based election and voter roll that are at the heart of the state's nation-building process. For this reason, we are confident that we will ultimately prevail," Dr. Akina concluded.
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Working to Defend the Constitution in Hawaii
by Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President/CEO, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii June 17, 2016
Today, history unfolded in a Hawaii courtroom. As a plaintiff in the challenge to the state's race-based nation-building effort, I was there to watch as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit considered our appeal. Mahalo to attorneys Bob Popper of Judicial Watch and Michael Lilly.
After Na'i Aupuni dissolved and claimed that there was no planned ratification vote for their Hawaiian Constitution, some claimed that our challenge was over. On the contrary, Hawaii is closer to the creation of a state-sponsored Native Hawaiian tribe right now than on the day this lawsuit was filed.
What's more, neither the state nor OHA have indicated that they intend to abandon their nation-building plan. That means -- absent a court decision to put an end to those efforts--public funds will continue to be funneled into a cause that has been roundly rejected by both Hawaiians and most citizens of this state.
That's why it is so important that the Grassroot Institute continues to work to preserve the rule of Constitutional law in Hawaii. A race-based federal tribe (and a race-based vote) not only violates the Constitution, but also spurs divisiveness in our state.
We are confident that we will ultimately prevail in our lawsuit, but no matter what the immediate outcome, we will continue fighting to preserve the Aloha spirit.
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Fed appeals court considers if Hawaiian election case moot
AP: …Plaintiffs argue that the lawsuit isn't moot because there's a fundraising effort underway for a ratification vote on a proposed constitution drafted at the gathering.
The lawsuit also claims the state improperly got involved with the election by allowing state agency Office of Hawaiian Affairs to fund the effort. The state denies involvement in the election.
In 2011, the state passed a law recognizing Hawaiians as the first people of Hawaii and laid the foundation for Native Hawaiians to establish their own government. The governor appointed a commission to produce a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians interested in participating in their own government.
The Office of Hawaiians Affairs must be prevented "from funneling millions of government dollars to another supposedly private entity under its de facto control for the purpose of holding a ratification vote using the race-based roll," the plaintiffs say in a court brief last month….
read … Court
9th Circuit Court: Video Feed of Hearing