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Thursday, January 7, 2016
Nai Aupuni in Contempt of Supreme Court? Latest Filings
By Grassroot Institute @ 6:21 PM :: 4944 Views :: Akaka Bill, OHA

Legal Filing Refutes Na'i Aupuni Defense Against Contempt Charge

Grassroot Institute Calls Na'i Aupuni Process an Embarrassment to the Hawaiian People

News Release from Grassroot Institute, January 7, 2016

HONOLULU, HAWAII--January 7, 2015--Today, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii cited the Reply in Support of the Motion for Civil Contempt in the case of Akina v. Hawaii as evidence that Na'i Aupuni and the state have acted irresponsibly in pursuit of an unconstitutional nation-building process. The memo, filed today in the Supreme Court of the United States, refutes the Defendant's claims that this was an attempt to stop a civil gathering. Rather, by seating all the delegates of the convention, Na'i Aupuni was attempting an end run around the Constitution and the courts.

The motion was filed by Judicial Watch which has been assisted by the Grassroot Institute in mounting this challenge to the state-sponsored election. The reply memo takes issue with the claim that this is an attempt to stop a private gathering, pointing out that was never the issue in the case before the court: "From the outset, the issue has been the state-run, race-based process that Respondents used to select convention delegates in violation of the Constitution. Respondents’ ingenious plan to seat all delegates instead of some of them does not alter this basic set of facts."

Moreover, ignoring the ballots to create an "everybody wins" election is simply a hyper-technical reading of the Supreme Court's injunction that cannot be used to nullify the point of the court order, which was to put all action on hold while the lower court heard the case:

"[B]allots become irrelevant when expanding the number of spots to equal the number of candidates makes everyone a winner. Nor could Respondents justify their actions even if this were not an election. A racially-exclusive, state-run nomination process violates the Fourteenth Amendment for the same reasons the election violates the Fifteenth Amendment."

The issue is even more critical, given that the Plaintiffs are also filing an opening brief in the Ninth Circuit Court, having chosen to pursue the Constitutional issues despite the attempt from Nai Aupuni and the state to avoid them. As Grassroot President Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., pointed out, the legal trickery being employed has only annoyed the Native Hawaiian community, which never supported the Na'i Aupuni election in the first place.

"Na'i  Aupuni, as a thinly veiled organ of the state, has acted shamefully and embarrassed the Hawaiian community," stated Dr. Akina.  "First, by seating delegates without an election, they prove that they have no regard for the thousands of names collected on the Native Hawaiian Roll.  Secondly, by creating a non- representative convention, they are giving false hopes and abusing the goodwill of the convention participants."

Dr. Akina continued: "As with the entire state-sponsored, race based nation process, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Na'i Aupuni are wasting to millions of dollars of public money on a political scheme that instead should be serving the needs of Hawaiians for housing, jobs, education, and health services.  It is time to stop this illegitimate process and move forward with real and practical solutions for advancing the Hawaiian people and all citizens of the state."

To read the Reply brief, go to:

For more background documents, see:


About the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii:

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, the free market, and limited, accountable government throughout Hawai`i and the Asia-Pacific region.  Read more about us at

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