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Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Docket No.: 07-1372
Certiorari Granted: Oct 1 2008
Argued: February 25, 2009
Decided: March 31, 2009

PartyNames: Hawaii, et al. v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs, et al.
Petitioner: State of Hawaii
Respondent: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Court Below: Supreme Court of Hawaii

State of Hawaii
v.
Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Question Presented:

In the Joint Resolution to Acknowledge the 100th Anniversary of the January 17, 1893 Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Congress acknowledged and apologized for the United States' role in that overthrow. The question here is whether this symbolic resolution strips Hawaii of its sovereign authority to sell, exchange, or transfer 1.2 million acres of state land--29 percent of the total land area of the State and almost all the land owned by the State--unless and until it reaches a political settlement with native Hawaiians about the status of that land.

Question:

Does the symbolic Apology Resolution restrict the State of Hawaii's sovereign authority to transfer publicly held land for private development, at least until claims over such land are resolved?

Holding: reversed and remanded
Vote: 9-0
Read HAWAII V. OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS opinion (PDF)
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