Individuals involved in ceded-lands litigation Kuroiwa v Lingle have issued two statements in response to Duke Aiona on Ceded Lands: High Court decision leaves no winners:
US Constitution clear winner
by H. William Burgess
On March 31, 2009 the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Hawaii Supreme Court and held that native Hawaiian claims to the ceded lands are "inconsistent" with the absolute title to the 1.2 million acres held by the State in public trust for the citizens of Hawaii. That absolute title, said the high court, was ceded to the U.S. by the Newlands resolution in 1898; the Organic Act in 1900 reiterated that the former Crown lands were free and clear of any claims whatsoever; and that clear title was transferred to the State in 1959 by the Admission Act in public trust for the citizens of Hawaii. The high court then said such claims would "cloud" the State’s “absolute” title and raise "grave constitutional doubts."
On April 8, 2009 Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett, at an informational briefing about the decision to the State House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, in response to questions from Committee members, said the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is very significant; “resolved the title issue” and claims over the ceded lands (referring to claims of native Hawaiians) “inconsistent” with that “absolute” title would raise grave constitutional questions: “Fourteenth Amendment”, “Admission Act” and “general v. special law” questions like those applied by the Hawaii Supreme Court in the Superferry case.
The clear winner is the Constitution of the United States and its sacred concept of equal privileges, immunities and protection of the laws for every citizen whatever his or her ancestry. More such wins for all the people of Hawaii will follow.
Decision was Crystal Clear, Don’t Depend on Apology Bill
By James Kuroiwa
Lt. Governor Aiona and I read different versions of the March 31, 2009 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Lt. Governor and I agree that we must preserve and protect legal Hawaiian rights and entitlements. Since he swore, as Lt. Governor, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, he must also agree with me that we must no less preserve and protect the legal rights and entitlements of all citizens of Hawaii whatever their ethnicity or ancestry.
The Court addressed the 1898 Newlands Resolution (30 Stat. 750), the 1900 Organic Act, and the 1959 Admissions Act as Federal laws that the State of Hawaii must follow. “The Supreme Court of Hawaii erred in reading §3 as recognizing claims inconsistent with the title held in ‘absolute fee’ by the United States (30 Stat. 750) and conveyed to the State of Hawaii at statehood.” This unequivocal statement of error places the Hawaii Supreme Court, the State Legislature, and the Administration on notice that compliance is required in developing state laws relating to issues addressed in the three Federal Laws.
The Court was crystal clear that the 1993 Apology Resolution was purely ceremonial and does not change these Federal laws.
The U.S. Supreme Court held on page 11, The Apology Resolution reveals no indication-much less a “clear and manifest” one that Congress intended to amend or repeal the State's rights and obligations under Admission Act (or any other federal law); nor does the Apology Resolution reveal any evidence that Congress intended sub silentio to “cloud” the title that the United States held in ‘absolute fee’ and transferred to the State in 1959. “Third, the Apology Resolution would raise grave constitutional concerns if it purported to ‘cloud’ Hawaii's title to its sovereign lands.”
In the same paragraph, the high court then reminds the Hawaii court “choosing between competing plausible interpretations of a statutory text” the reasonable presumption is “that Congress did not intend the alternative which raises serious constitutional doubts.”
To me, the Supreme Court of the United States has now settled the question of whether native Hawaiians own a superior right over the ceded lands. They do not. OHA’s claim would “cloud” the title that the United States held in “absolute fee” and transferred to the State in 1959. Those claims would raise grave constitutional concerns.
The citizens of Hawaii must begin to understand, as my Kupuna’s shared with me, the Kingdom and its rulers believed in a one Hawaii of one people. They never believed in racial separation. Because of this belief, Hawaii has blossomed into the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural State today. Some are attempting to change that.
The Revolution by citizens of the Kingdom of Hawaii that overthrew the Monarchy and Queen Liliuokalani were not supported by the United States. The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations after a hearing beginning on December 27, 1893 and ending in February 13, 1894 and submitted their unanimous report No. 227 on February 26, 1894 to Congress concluding that the United States was not complicit in the overthrow. It also stated that the Revolution and overthrow was caused by the Monarchy and the Queen herself.
James Blount presented his testimony to the Senate Committee under oath on January 11, 1894 that his report did not have any sworn testimony from individuals in Hawaii. He also stated that not all the key players in the Revolution were interviewed by him. Many of the prominent citizens involved in the Revolution presented sworn testimony that they were not interviewed by Mr. Blount.
The 2009 “Akaka Bill” is based on the erroneous 1993 Apology Bill. I believe the Akaka Bill is under serious consideration of a re-write or a withdrawal for review. The passage of the “as is” Akaka Bill will be challenged in the Federal Courts.
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