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Friday, May 23, 2014
Decision on CNMI Vote Demonstrates the Illegality of OHA's Nation-Building Process
By Grassroot Institute @ 9:53 PM :: 5364 Views :: Akaka Bill, OHA

Decision on CNMI Vote Demonstrates the Illegality of OHA's Nation-Building Process

News Release from Grassroot Institute

HONOLULU, Hawaii—May 23, 2014—A federal court has struck down a race-based voting scheme in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), thereby highlighting the Constitutional problems inherent in elections based on race or ancestry--including the upcoming election planned by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

At issue was a CNMI law that prevented citizens from voting on a referendum on a Constitutional Amendment related to property rights if the citizen was not of "Northern Mariana descent." The U.S. District Court in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands grated summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, ruling that the CNMI law defining "Northern Marian descent" created a racial classification, and that, "under federal law it may not serve as the basis for preventing otherwise qualified voters from voting on proposed amendments." The District Court also refused to see a distinction between ancestry and race where the effect so clearly favors a specific racial group.

The decision raises interesting questions regarding the legality of the proposed Constitutional Convention that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has planned for 2014. Voting eligibility for that election is at present limited to those who have signed up for or been added to the Native Hawaiian Roll, the qualifications for which are also strongly weighted toward race and ancestry.

"The CNMI decision is a clear warning to the State of Hawaii and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs that their nation-building process has strayed into unconstitutional territory," stated Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. "By persisting in this plan, not only do they continue to sow divisiveness and confusion, but they are also failing their own constituency. The Native Hawaiian people are not helped by a process that spends millions of dollars in pursuit of an election and enrollment effort of such questionable legality. It's time for the state and OHA to get out of the nation-building business and get back to working for the best interests of all Hawaiians."


PDF: Court Ruling

NRO: Voting Discrimination Struck Down in Northern Mariana Islands — DOJ Nowhere to Be Seen

Related: Voting Rights Denied: What Hawaii Can Learn from Davis v Guam

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Jim Crow alive and well in Eric Holder's Justice Department

WE: But Jim Crow is now making a huge comeback, thanks to the identity politics so common among liberals, especially on college campuses. As PJ Media columnist and former U.S. Department of Justice civil rights attorney J. Christian Adams notes, a federal court recently struck down a lawin the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands that allowed only people of “Northern Mariana descent” to vote on constitutional referendums. In Guam, the new Jim Crow appears in a law that allows voter registration only by those with ancestors living there prior to 1950, thus effectively limiting the ballot to individuals descended from the Chamorro people.

Similarly, Hawaii has a law on its books that limits registration "to only those who had an ancestor who lived on Hawaii in 1778 or received race-based land benefits in 1921. It also allows anyone with a ‘significant connection' to the ‘Native Hawaiian community' to register for the roll, which should nicely scoop up the radical academics who have flocked to the University of Hawaii to agitate for exactly this sort of race-based separatism,” Adams said. The Supreme Court struck down a similar Hawaii law in 2000.

read ... Jim Crow alive and well in Eric Holder's Justice Department

Jim Crow Prowls Paradise

PJ: The same movement to allocate political power to only people of color in the CNMI is alive and well in Hawaii. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has created a racially exclusionary voter roll to conduct a state-run election. (The materials from the office must be seen to be believed.)  A 2011 Hawaii law limits registration on this roll to only those who had an ancestor who lived on Hawaii in 1778 or received race-based land benefits in 1921. It also allows anyone with a “significant connection” to the “Native Hawaiian community” to register for the roll, which should nicely scoop up the radical academics who have flocked to the University of Hawaii to agitate for exactly this sort of race-based separatism.

Materials produced by Hawaii GovernmentMaterials produced by Hawaii Government

The Hawaii law is being implemented with great fanfare, including a plan for racially correct Hawaiian voters to elect delegates to an “Aha,” or Constitutional Convention to draft a governing document for the new Native Hawaiian nation. Remember, this nonsense is being paid for and administered by the government of Hawaii. Never mind that the United States Supreme Court spanked Hawaii in 2000 for creating an almost identical racially exclusionary election.

read ... Jim Crow Prowls Paradise

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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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About Grassroot President:

Dr. Akina is a recognized scholar, educator, public policy spokesperson, and community leader. In 2012, he was a candidate for the non-partisan position of Trustee in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.  Akina has decades-long experience leading non-profit organizations including Youth for Christ Hawai`i and the Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders. An expert in East-West Philosophy, he has taught at universities in China and the United States, and continues as an adjunct instructor at Hawai`i Pacific University and the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa. Read more:


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