New Scholarship on Congress’ Authority to Recognize a Native Hawaiian Polity United by Common Descent

Derek Hoohauoli Kauanoe and Breann Swann Nuuhiwa have posted “We are Who We Thought We Were: Congress’ Authority to Recognize a Native Hawaiian Polity United by Common Descent” on SSRN. It is forthcoming in the Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal.

Here is the abstract:

In an attempt to fulfill the federal government’s moral imperative, the United States Congress has spent more than a decade considering several proposed versions of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (colloquially referred to as the “Akaka Bill”), which seeks to restore a small measure of Native Hawaiian self-governing authority by providing a process for the formal federal acknowledgment of a reorganized Native Hawaiian governing entity. The proposed Act changes significantly with each new Congress, but from its initial introduction in 2000 to the present, the Act has consistently required that the initial reorganization of the Native Hawaiian polity be carried out by the Native Hawaiian community, united by common Native Hawaiian descent without regard to blood quantum.

US Civil Rights Commission: Racism in Rez Border Towns

Given the strange make-up of the current US Civil Rights Commission (that recently “warned” of the harm that affirmative action causes to students and argued that the Akaka Bill was unconstutional), one wonders what will come of this particular panel.

The press release is here.

Wither the Akaka Bill?

The White House OMB came out with its objections to the Akaka Bill, namely that the Congressional recognition of Native Hawaiians would be an unconstitutional race-based classification.

My sense is that any constitutional objections to the Bill could be overcome with the political will to do so. But this document articulates (in coded language) that there just is no political will from the Bush Administration to take any action to assist people of color.