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Hawaii self governance plan facing court battle
Hawaii self governance plan facing court battle

Hawaiian residents opposed to a self governing native Hawaiian nation within the state have notified a lower court of plans [Motion, PDF] to make a second trip to the US Supreme Court [official website] to address the action taken by their opposition. The Na’i Aupuni [official website] organization has asked the party to dismiss litigation pending in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website]. On December 15, Na’i Aupuni announced plans to terminate the December election of native Hawaiian delegates, yet to continue to hold a month-long constitutional convention early next year. These developments significantly alter information presented in documents by the moving party. The request for an extension of time to file the briefs stated, “this factual development may change the litigation in ways more fundamental than alteration of briefs. In particular, possible responses and outcomes range from seeking further injunctive relief from the Supreme Court to dismissal of the appeal and/or the litigation.”

In December, the US Supreme Court issued an order [order, PDF] enjoining Hawaii from counting recent election ballots pending a final ruling [JURIST report] from the Ninth Circuit. In November, Justice Anthony Kennedy blocked the counting of ballots [JURIST report] when Na’i Aupuni concluded an election that would create an assembly of delegates exclusively selected by voters with native ancestry. Though the election has had federal and state support, many Hawaiian citizens found the election to be discriminatory and unconstitutional. The court action regarding the election follows efforts to provide native Hawaiians with the right of self-determination. In 2011 Hawaii enacted Act 195, which authorized the creation of a race-based voter roll to be used for an election of delegates to a Native Hawaiian convention [brief, PDF]. In July 2012 the Native Hawaiian Role Commission (NHRC) founded [Judicial Watch report] the Kanaʻiolowalu project [advocacy website], which now has more than 125,000 registrants. The objective of the Kana’iolowalu project is “to reunify Native Hawaiians in the self-recognition of their unrelinquished sovereignty.” In late October, a judge for the US District Court for the District of Hawaii ruled that the now cancelled Na’i Aupuni election may take place [JURIST report].