JW filed an Urgent Motion for Injunction with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to stop a race-based Hawaiians-only election.State Uses “One Drop of Blood” Rule to Define Voter Eligibility in “Native-Hawaiian”-Exclusive Vote.
Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed an Urgent Motion for Injunction with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to stop a race-based, state-sponsored, Hawaiians-only election that violates the “fundamental constitutional rights” of American citizens (Keli’i Akina, et al. v. The State of Hawaii, et al. (No. 15-17134)).
The motion asks that the Appeals Court enjoin the counting of ballots, now scheduled for November 30, until the resolution of a Judicial Watch appeal of an earlier district court ruling in the case (Keli’i Akina, et al. v. The State of Hawaii, et al. (No. 1:15-cv-00322)).
In August, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit on behalf of the five Hawaiian residents who have joined with a Texas resident to oppose voter registration requirements instituted under Act 195, which became a Hawaiian state law in 2011. Judicial Watch sought a preliminary injunction to stop the vote, scheduled for the month of November 2015, arguing that its clients’ injunction are 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. 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, which would then prepare “governance documents” for a separate Native Hawaiian entity.
The Obama administration supported the race-based election in this litigation despite the fact that the State of Hawaii limits eligible voters in the election to those who have at least one drop of Native Hawaiian blood. Judicial Watch notes that this “one drop of blood” rule is like other laws last seen in the racist Jim Crow era: “It also has an unfortunate resonance in American history. See, e.g., Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 5 n. 4 (1967) (discussing Virginia statute holding that ‘[e]very person in whom there is ascertainable any Negro blood shall be deemed and taken to be a colored person’).”