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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court — SCPW-22-0000078

No. SCPW-22-0000078, Tuesday, March 15, 2022, 2 p.m.

WILLIAM M. HICKS; RALPH BOYEA; MADGE SCHAEFER; MICHAELA IKEUCHI; KIMEONA KANE; MAKI MORINOUE; ROBERTA MAYOR; DEBORAH WARD; JENNIFER LIENHART-TSUJI; LARRY S. VERAY; and PHILIP BARNES, Petitioners, vs. THE 2021 HAWAIʻI REAPPORTIONMENT COMMISSION AND ITS MEMBERS; THE STATE OF HAWAIʻI OFFICE OF ELECTIONS; and SCOTT NAGO, in his official capacity as Chief Elections Officer, State of Hawaiʻi, Respondents.

The above-captioned case was set for oral argument at:

Supreme Court Courtroom
Aliʻiolani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

The oral argument was livestreamed for public viewing via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/hawaiicourts.

Attorney for Petitioners:

Mateo Caballero of Caballero Law LLLC

Attorneys for Respondents:

Patricia Ohara, Lori N. Tanigawa, and Reese R. Nakamura, Deputy Attorneys General

COURT: Recktenwald, C.J., Nakayama, McKenna, Wilson, and Eddins, JJ.

[  Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format  ]

Brief Description:

On January 28, 2022, the 2021 Hawaiʻi Reapportionment Commission (the Commission), one of the Respondents in this case, approved the 2021 Final Legislative Reapportionment Plan (the Plan).

Petitioners argue that the Plan is invalid for three reasons.

First, because it does not comply with article IV, section 6 of the Hawaiʻi Constitution, which states that, when redistricting, reapportionment commissions should be guided by the criterion that “[w]here practicable, representative districts shall be wholly included within senatorial districts.” Haw. Const. art. IV, § 6.

Second, because it violates Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes Section 25-2(b)(5)’s requirement that “[w]here practicable, state legislative districts shall be wholly included within congressional districts.” HRS § 25-2(b)(5).

And third, because in producing the Plan, the Commission unconstitutionally delegated much of its redistricting work and decision-making to a committee that Petitioners say did not operate in public and consisted of just four of the Commission’s nine members.

We consider these arguments and Petitioners’ requests for: (1) a declaratory judgment that the Plan is invalid; (2) a writ of mandamus directing Respondent Scott Nago, in his official capacity as Chief Elections Officer of the State of Hawaiʻi, to rescind the Plan; and (3) a writ of mandamus directing the Commission to prepare and file a new reapportionment plan that complies with article IV, section 6 of the Hawaiʻi Constitution and Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes Section 25-2.