Turtle Talk: Supreme Court hears Hawaiian case
"In all of the hullabaloo surrounding Carcieri and Navajo Nation II, you may have forgotten that the Supreme Court heard oral argument in a claim involving the Native Hawaiians, Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Like the other two cases, the Supreme Court very clearly granted cert in this case in order to reverse. The only real discussion in this case was how far the Court would go in reversing.

The Hawaii Supreme Court held below that a Congressional apology resolution from a few years back had legal effect sufficient to prevent the State from selling Native Hawaiian trust lands. The question presented has to do whether the apology resolution has that legal effect.

The petitioner’s argument started right off with the moderate wing of the Court assuming that the apology resolution has no legal effect. They pressed the Hawaii Attorney General for reasons why the Court should do anything more than simply vacate and remand. In short, the question presented is already answered, probably 9-0.The only real question is whether to allow the Hawaii SCT to reconsider their decision under state law grounds alone, or whether to foreclose even that possibility by holding that federal law prevents the State from having a trust relationship to Native Hawaiians vis a vis this land."

Get the Story:
Commentary on the Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs Oral Argument (Turtle Talk 2/26)

Supreme Court Documents:
Oral Argument Transcript | Docket Sheet No. 07-1372 | Petition for certiorari

Related Stories:
Supreme Court to hear Native Hawaiian land case (2/24)
SCOTUSBlog: Native Hawaiian Supreme Court case (2/23)
Opinion: Native Hawaiian Supreme Court case (1/6)
Supreme Court sets hearings in Indian law cases (12/09)
Supreme Court to hear Native Hawaiian case (10/1)
Supreme Court considers Indian law cases (9/30)
SCOTUSBlog: Supreme Court petitions to watch (09/19)

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