The State of Hawaii filed its merits brief in the "ceded lands" case, Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs, No. 07-1372 (cert. granted Oct. 1, 2008). Download the brief here.
The U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing the decision of the Hawaii Supreme Court in Office of Hawaiian Affairs v. Housing and Community Dev. Corp. of Hawaii, 117 Haw. 174, 177 P.3d 884 (Jan. 31, 2008), which held that the resolution in which Congress apologized for the United States' role in the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893 prohibits the state from transferring the ceded lands until a political settlement is reached with native Hawaiians.
The Court is reviewing the following 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.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs' brief is due January 21, 2009. [Disclosure: we filed an amicus brief supporting the State at the petition stage, and will be filing a merits amicus supporting the State next week.]
Visit our ceded lands case page for the cert stage briefs of the parties, and links to commentary and media reports about the case.