Tom Fitton / Jan. 4, 2016

Judicial Watch Files for Contempt in Supreme Court Against State of Hawaii

A little less than one month ago, Judicial Watch reported to you our historic Supreme Court victory. Our lawyers convinced the Supreme Court to issue an injunction halting a race-based “Native Hawaiian-only” election in Hawaii. In August, Judicial Watch filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of five Hawaiian residents and one Texas resident of Hawaiian descent who opposed the discriminatory election process (Keli’i Akina, et al. v. The State of Hawaii, et al. (No. 1:15-cv-00322)).

A little less than one month ago, Judicial Watch reported to you our historic Supreme Court victory. Our lawyers convinced the Supreme Court to issue an injunction halting a race-based “Native Hawaiian-only” election in Hawaii. In August, Judicial Watch filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of five Hawaiian residents and one Texas resident of Hawaiian descent who opposed the discriminatory election process (Keli'i Akina, et al. v. The State of Hawaii, et al. (No. 1:15-cv-00322)).

But, unbelievably, the State of Hawaii thought it could game the Supreme Court.

Just before Christmas, we filed a Motion for Civil Contempt against the State of Hawaii for its contravention of an injunction in the race-based “Native Hawaiian-only” election. The civil contempt motion alleges the State of Hawaii circumvented the order from the United States Supreme Court enjoining Hawaii from counting ballots or certifying winners in the election until a review of the case is completed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

On August 28, Judicial Watch sought a preliminary injunction from the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii to stop the vote that had been scheduled for November 2015, arguing that its clients would be denied the right to vote either because of their race or their political views, in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Hawaii’s Act 195 authorizes the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission (NHRC) to create a list of “Native Hawaiians” who would be eligible to elect delegates to a planned constitutional convention that would then prepare “governance documents” for a separate Native Hawaiian entity.

Ultimately, on December 2, the Supreme Court ordered an injunction stopping the race-based election, which reads:

The application for injunction pending appellate review presented to Justice Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is granted. Respondents are enjoined from counting the ballots cast in, and certifying the winners of, the election described in the application, pending final disposition of the appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Kagan would deny the application.

Hawaii violated the injunction on December 15, 2015, when the Na'i Apuni Foundation, a defendant in the case, allegedly acting on behalf of the State Hawaii, announced that all 196 candidates in the now-enjoined election will be seated at a February 1, 2016, constitutional convention to consider whether Native Hawaiians should seek some sort of federal tribal status. Thus, instead of counting the ballots and seating the 40 candidates receiving the most votes, the State of Hawaii, through its agents, declared every candidate running for delegate to be a winner and plans to seat them all. Judicial Watch’s attorneys argue that Hawaii’s gamesmanship is intended to ensure the success of the Obama Interior Department’s controversial plan to recognize the new Hawaiian “tribe.”

The plaintiffs ask the Supreme Court to stop the plan to seat all candidates at the convention, to impose fines to ensure compliance, and to bring the State of Hawaii’s election-related actions under the supervision of federal courts.

Robert Popper, director of Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity Project, is Judicial Watch’s lead attorney on the lawsuit and lead counsel for all plaintiffs.

This is a constitutional crisis. That is why we are asking the United States Supreme Court to hold the State of Hawaii in contempt. Rather than stand down as the Supreme Court lawfully ordered, Hawaii plans to proceed with an unconstitutional, race-based, separatist election that violates the fundamental constitutional rights of American citizens. We went to the Supreme Court because President Obama, whose administration is in cahoots with Hawaii public officials, obviously will not send troops to Hawaii to defend the rule of law, as President Eisenhower did to enforce the Supreme Court’s desegregation order in Little Rock.

The Supreme Court could take action this month on our contempt motion, so watch here for updates.

In the meantime, click here (behind a paywall) to view a Wall Street Journal op-ed on the Hawaii controversy and what it means for our nation by our friend, Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute and a plaintiff in the case. The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a Hawaii-based think tank, has been helping Judicial Watch to investigate Hawaii’s plan for a race-based election.

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