Back to Hawaii

(Not the Marines; the Swilling.) This morning I read RadioBlogger’s transcript of Hugh Hewitt interviewing Frank Gaffney and thought “WHAT?!” My jokey little post yesterday got turned on it’s ear. This Senate Bill ~ S.147 ~ is an amazing piece of racist effrontry and is threatening to slide through the Senate TODAY because no one knows about it, what it intends and they DON’T believe they have the votes TO BLOCK IT! MSNBC has the short story on it:

The bill recognizes the right of Native Hawaiians to form a governing entity that, upon approval by Washington, would be authorized to negotiate with the state and federal governments over such issues as historical grievances and control of natural resources, lands and assets.
…A Senate vote was scheduled for last fall but was delayed when lawmakers became occupied by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Since then, Akaka has sought to ease opposition to the measure by working out language with the Bush administration clarifying several provisions. The altered bill allows the federal government to assert sovereign immunity so that land claims may not be heard in courts of law.
It also exempts the Defense Department from future negotiations over land use, and it makes clear that the new government would not be allowed to take private land, deny civil rights or set up gambling operations similar to those allowed to American Indians.

Better yet, Ed Meese weighs in with a wonderfully instructive dissection of the bill and it’s inherent unconstitutionality, excerpted in the Hawaii Reporter today.

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to begin debate as early as June 7, 2006, on the misleadingly named “Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005” (S.147).[1] The proponents of this bill, some motivated by seemingly benign purposes and others by a desire to benefit from special preferences, argue that it redresses ancient wrongs done to early Hawaiians by various powers, including the United States. The bill purports to authorize the creation of an exclusively race-based government of “native” Hawaiians to exercise sovereignty over native Hawaiians living anywhere in the United States. This “Native Hawaiian Government” could allegedly exempt these Hawaiians from whatever aspects of the United States Constitution and state authority it thought undesirable. Not only is this a terrible idea; it is also unconstitutional.
The United States Supreme Court ruled decisively that this approach violates the Constitution in Rice v. Cayetano (2000). Yet the proponents of S.147 believe they can bypass this ruling simply by enacting a law that calls the descendants of so-called “aboriginal” Hawaiians an American Indian tribe. The bill would require the federal government to create a database of persons with one drop or more of “aboriginal” Hawaiian blood, organize elections for an “interim government” of this alleged “tribe,” and finally recognize the sovereignty and privileges and immunities (or lack thereof) that the new government establishes for its “tribal members.” Although Hawaii correctly argued in the Rice litigation that descendants of aboriginal Hawaiians are not an American Indian tribe, state officials have changed their minds—because that is the only way they can practice racial discrimination on behalf of a favored interest group. Hopefully, the United States Constitution is not so easily circumvented.

But call/email your Senator/Representative FIRST.
UPDATE: Doowwwnnnn she goes ~ Akaka bill goes under, 56-41. Mary Katharine Ham at Hugh hewitt has a round-up.

6 Responses to “Back to Hawaii”

  1. Dan Collins says:

    Shouldn’t that be Senator Frist? (Bwahahaha!) *Ahem*

  2. Mike Rentner says:

    Bill Frist reports on his blog that this was defeated.

  3. Crusader says:

    Shameful only 56 voted against it.

  4. John says:

    A kaka – what an apt name.

  5. Dave J says:

    “UPDATE: Doowwwnnnn she goes ~ Akaka bill goes under, 56-41.”
    Thank God. I’ve been dreading for months that this despicable piece of crap might actually pass.
    FYI, here’s the roll call.

  6. Nightfly says:

    Lautenberg and Menendez (D-NJ) are, of course, a couple of pantloads for voting for this. Pandering so-and-sos.

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