Showing some skepticism that an election now taking place in Hawaii is a purely private matter, Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on Friday temporarily blocked the ballot-counting after all the votes are in on Monday. The order was not a final action, hinting that there could be other orders within coming days. The balloting on a proposal to begin the process toward setting up a new nation of “native Hawaiians” within the state of Hawaii actually began on November 1, and concludes on November 30. Only “native Hawaiians” can vote. The challengers, contending that the election is an official election that is race-based and thus violates the Constitution, had not asked that the balloting be stopped, and Kennedy’s order does not do so. The state of Hawaii, with strong support from the federal Department of the Interior, favors a plan to create a new entity, something like an Indian tribe, that would give those who can show Hawaiian ancestry the right of self-determination, leading to the status of a sovereign nation.
Residents of the islands who do not meet that category argued in their plea to Justice Kennedy and the Court that the election, to be followed by a constitutional convention, was not a private matter left to those with the ancestral claim but was a government-sponsored and financed election that must conform to both the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. The outcome of the election, they asserted, will have a major public policy impact.
The state of Hawaii and the non-profit corporation that was set up to actually run the election both told the Court that the election was entirely a private affair, and that those who do not have the ancestral connection have no role to play in the process. That is also the view of the Department of the Interior, which has started a process toward recognizing a new nation as an equal government.
The challengers’ application asked the Court to do two things: first, to prohibit the counting of the ballots and the certification of the winners of the convention delegate seats “during the pendency of this appeal”; and, second, as an alternative, to temporarily block the counting and certifying “to allow full consideration” of the application by the Supreme Court.
Full Article: Kennedy temporarily blocks Hawaii vote count : SCOTUSblog.