Supreme Court hears “ceded” lands case

February 26, 2009

Two events: There was a vigil held simultaneously as the U.S. Supreme Court was preparing to hear arguments in the State of Hawaii’s appeal over “ceded” lands.

view the transcripts of the hearing.

Out of the many points that were heard in today’s U.S. Supreme Court hearings, Justice Souter (p12.line5) in asking why this court was hearing this case, acknowledges that the Apology Resolution is the only Federal document that the Hawaii Supreme Court refers to in their decision to rule against the State of Hawaii’s right to sell “ceded” lands. Souter suggests that the role that the State of Hawaii has over these lands is a State issue to be determined by the Hawaii legislature and Justice Scalia goes on to later consider (page 46) that the reconciliation process as approved by the Apology resolution may be a factor as to why the lands cannot be transferred.

The Apology Resolution rests upon what it consistent with State equity and trust law, and whatever fiduciary duty the State has over the “ceded” lands should be addressed by the State and not the federal courts.

The question to be decided remains whether or not the trustee– the State of Hawaii–is acting constistent wit the trustee’s obligation under the terms of the trust.

It does not appear from todays arguments, that the State of Hawaii presents a strong case for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule upon whether the Apology Resolution has any effect over the Hawaii Supreme Court ruling, and it sounds like this will remain a State issue, and not a federal one.

The concern over Native Hawaiian entitlements as well as the perceived concern over whether this case will give option to other indigenous groups over rights to claim lost title over lands seems for now, moot.

I remain optimistic.

4 am vigil at state capital and video

OHA v State of Hawaii- Supreme Court

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