Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Saturday, September 10, 2016
How Guam May Impact Hawaii: Race-Based Voting Deja Vu
By Grassroot Institute @ 12:33 PM :: 5341 Views :: Akaka Bill

How Guam May Impact Hawaii: Race-Based Voting Deja Vu

by Dr. Keli'i Akina, Ph.D. Grassroot Institute, Sep 10, 2016

At the moment, we are awaiting a decision in a vital court case where a non-native U.S. citizen is challenging a public vote restricted to an island’s native inhabitants. I’m not talking about Akina v. Hawaii, but rather Davis v. Guam, which is currently being heard in federal district court. The decision could have a huge impact on the Native Hawaiian nation-building effort.

Arnold “Dave” Davis brought the suit against Guam after he was prohibited from registering to vote in a plebiscite regarding Guam’s political status (i.e. voters would be indicating whether they would like to be a U.S. state, seek independence, or if they prefer free association). Current law restricts participation in the vote to “native inhabitants” of Guam, which only includes people who became citizens of the U.S. under the 1950 Organic Act of Guam and their descendants.

Arnold Davis brought the suit against Guam after he was prohibited from registering to vote.

Arnold Davis brought the suit against Guam after he was prohibited from registering to vote.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s dismissal of the case, and the district court hearing commenced on September 1st. From the start, presiding Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood made it clear that this was going to be a case about the Constitution and voting rights. She instructed the lawyers to prepare arguments on the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments as well as the Voting Rights Act. She also told them to be sure to include their thoughts on how Rice v. Cayetano applies to the case.

Davis’ argument will be familiar to anyone who has followed similar issues in Hawaii. He says that the Constitution forbids racial discrimination in voting and that the Supreme Court has stated that the use of “ancestry” as a stand-in for race is also unconstitutional.

The defendant’s arguments are also likely to give you a case of deja vu. They claim that this use of bloodline or ancestry is not the same as race/ethnicity. They further argue that the plebiscite is merely symbolic and has no force of law. At the same time, they have tried to suggest that Davis is trying to block the “right of self-determination” by demanding a non-exclusive vote.

We’ve seen similar claims defending OHA’s efforts to hold Native Hawaiian-only votes. But if the government wants an opinion poll, there are simpler and cheaper ways of finding out which way the wind is blowing. The fig leaf of “it’s not binding” can’t be used to legitimize an election where voting rights are determined by bloodline.

Whatever Judge Tydingco-Gatewood decides, there is a good chance that we will see this issue end up before a higher court. While there are a few differences between the Davis case and the situation in Hawaii, it’s sure to influence future rulings on the creation of a Native Hawaiian tribe. OHA has already indicated that the Akina lawsuit has made it difficult to proceed with their nation-building project. The Davis case might throw another wrench into their plans.

---30---

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii