(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced on Wednesday that it filed a Motion for Civil Contemptagainst 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 an 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 Ninth Circuit Court. The Supreme Court filing arises out of a federal lawsuit on behalf of five Hawaiian residents and one Texas resident of Hawaiian descent who oppose the discriminatory election process (Keli’i Akina, et al. v. The State of Hawaii, et al. (No. 1:15-cv-00322)).
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, whichreads:
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.