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Fed Court Must Stop Racist Election in Hawaii

Tom Fitton By Wednesday, 09 September 2015 11:29 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Washington, D.C., is not the only place where our government is off the rails and out of control. Hawaii is hurtling down a path that could tear this nation apart thanks to corrupt, racist moves by its government.

Judicial Watch recently filed on behalf of these fine Americans an important legal brief, specifically a motion for a preliminary injunction, to halt a native Hawaiian election in which voter registration was restricted both by race and by a strict adherence to specified political viewpoints.

The motion was filed on behalf of five Hawaiian residents and one Texas resident of Hawaiian descent who oppose the discriminatory voter registration requirements instituted under Act 195. The motion was filed on August 28, 2015, as part of a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the State of Hawaii.

Judicial Watch filed the underlying lawsuit a few weeks ago against the state of Hawaii, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission (NHRC), and other State officials alleging that the Hawaiian “self-governance” vote violates the U.S. Constitution and federal voting rights laws.

Hawaii State officials, through Act 195, which became law in 2011, have tried to create a list of “Native Hawaiian people.” The act defines a “Native Hawaiian” as any person whom the government determines to be a direct descendant of the state’s aboriginal peoples.

On July 20, 2012, using taxpayer funds from the state’s Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the NHRC launched the Kana’iolowalu campaign, opening a registration process strictly confined to native Hawaiians who desire to vote for a new race-based sovereign government.

The process, besides being racially discriminatory, excludes registrants who refuse to affirm all three of the following declarations:
  • Declaration One. I affirm the unrelinquished sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people, and my intent to participate in the process of self-governance.
  • Declaration Two. I have a significant cultural, social or civic connection to the Native Hawaiian community.
  • Declaration Three. I am a Native Hawaiian: a lineal descendant of the people who lived and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian islands prior to 1778, or a person who is eligible for the programs of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, or a direct lineal descendant of that person.

Judicial Watch attorneys represent citizens harmed by this discriminatory Hawaii election process.

Keli’i Akina and Kealii Makekau are descendants of the Hawaiian aboriginal people, who cannot register to vote because they will not affirm that they favor native Hawaiian sovereignty and self-governance.

Joseph Kent and Yoshimasa Sean Mitsui are citizens and residents of the state of Hawaii, who are prevented from registering to vote in elections because of the race-based ancestry requirements of Act 195. Melissa Leina’ala Moniz and Pedro Kana’e Gapero are descendants of the aboriginal people of Hawaii and were registered to vote without their knowledge or consent.

The U.S. Supreme Court previously ruled against another Hawaii attempt to restrict voting based on race, noting that Hawaii’s “position rests . . . on the demeaning premise that citizens of a particular race are somehow more qualified than others to vote on certain matters. That reasoning attacks the central meaning of the Fifteenth Amendment.”

Judicial Watch argues that an injunction is warranted in light of the harm caused by the numerous violations of the Constitution and federal law: "If Defendants are allowed to proceed with the challenged activities under Act 195, a great and substantial harm will be done to the constitutional and statutory rights of plaintiffs and of hundreds of thousands of other citizens of the State of Hawaii.

"The deprivations involved, moreover, concern such fundamental constitutional guarantees as the First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom from compelled speech, the Fourteenth Amendment rights to the equal protection of the laws and to due process, the Fifteenth Amendment right to vote free from denial or abridgment on account of race, and the basic antidiscrimination provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965."

Robert Popper, director of Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity Project, is Judicial Watch’s lead attorney on the lawsuit. He was formerly deputy chief of the voting section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

Michael Lilly of the Honolulu law firm Ning, Lilly & Jones is serving as Judicial Watch’s local counsel for the plaintiffs.

The Hawaii state motto, even before translation, is quite beautiful: “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘?ina i ka Pono.” This translates as, “The Life of the Law is Perpetuated in Righteousness.” I can’t think of few better ways to sum up a guiding principle for both this civil rights lawsuit and for Judicial Watch generally.

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Judicial Watch recently filed a legal brief, a motion for a preliminary injunction to halt a native Hawaiian election in which voter registration was restricted both by race and political viewpoints.
hawaii, election
Wednesday, 09 September 2015 11:29 AM
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