Hawaii Supreme Court dismisses final claim in native land case

[JURIST] The Hawaii Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday dismissed the last claim seeking a permanent ban on the sale of lands ceded by the former monarchy. Claims were originally filed by four members of the Native Hawaiians [advocacy website] and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) [official website] in order to prevent the sale of 1.2 million acres of land. Three of the four Native Hawaiian defendants and OHA reached a compromise [Honolulu Advertiser report] with the state that would require approval by two-thirds of both houses of the state legislature before any of the ceded lands could be sold. The agreement was part of Hawaii State Senate Bill 1677. The fourth defendant, University of Hawaii professor Jonathan Osorio, rejected the compromise and continued with his lawsuit, but the court dismissed his suit Tuesday. Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett [official website] said [press release, PDF] he was "pleased" with the court's decision.

OHA originally won an injunction from the Hawaii Supreme Court preventing the sale of the land, but the US Supreme Court reversed [JURIST report] the lower court ruling in March. The Supreme Court's ruling held that the state court had erred in interpreting the 1993 Apology Resolution [text] as Congress's attempt to take away the right of the citizens of Hawaii to resolve an issue of such importance to the state.

 

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