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Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Justice Kennedy: US Constitution is Part of Hawaii's Heritage
By Robert Thomas @ 9:34 PM :: 6124 Views :: Kauai County, DHHL, Energy, Environment

Justice Kennedy's Remarks About The "Hawaiian" Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference

by Robert Thomas, InverseCondemnation.com

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is well known to people in Hawaii, or at least should be. After all, he penned the majority opinion in Rice v. Cayetano, 529 U.S. 495 (2009), the decision invalidating Native Hawaiian-only voting for trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a state agency whose mission is to "protect Hawai'i's people and environmental resources and OHA's assets, toward ensuring the perpetuation of the culture, the enhancement of lifestyle and the protection of entitlements of Native Hawaiians, while enabling the building of a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation, recognized nationally and internationally." More here. In his Rice opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote:

When the culture and way of life of a people are all but engulfed by a history beyond their control, their sense of loss may extend down through generations; and their dismay may be shared by many members of the larger community. As the State of Hawaii attempts to address these realities, it must, as always, seek the political consensus that begins with a sense of shared purpose. One of the necessary beginning points is this principle: The Constitution of the United States, too, has become the heritage of all the citizens of Hawaii.

Justice Kennedy is again talking about Hawaii, this time he's on Maui for the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, where he addressed the dust-up surrounding the choice of Hawaii as the conference venue in "these economic times." He said this:

[I]t's important that this conference meet frequently in Hawaii. There is a loveliness, even a loneliness in the Pacific that makes it fitting for us to search in quiet for the elegance and the beauty of the law. The Hawaiian islands, a state on equal footing and of equal dignity with the 13 original states, and all of the other states, is a bastion of freedom in the Pacific. And together with our friends from Federated States of Micronesia, from Marshall Islands, from Palau, from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and from Guam, they, in a war, that is still within the living memory of many of us suffered anguish and disaster, and hurt and death in defending freedom. And it’s an honor to be here in Hawaii to celebrate the fact that it is citadel of liberty, a bastion of freedom, and we thank the Hawaiian people for their gracious welcome that they always give to us when we come here.

Full transcript here. We also guess that Hawaii beats Palikir, Majuro, Melekeok, Saipan, and Agana (yes, we had to look them up) as the venue of the Conference.

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