Secretary of State Gresham’s Report to President Cleveland Regarding the Illegal Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government on January 17, 1893

To ensure clarity as to what actually happened on January 17, 1893, below is the report by Secretary of State Walter Gresham to President Grover Cleveland dated October 18, 1893. The report stems from the periodic reports to the Secretary of State from James Blount as Special Commissioner. From April 1, 1893, when he began the investigation, to his final report dated July 17, 1893. Gresham’s report led to President Cleveland’s message to the Congress on December 18, 1893, concluding that the “military demonstration on the soil of Honolulu was of itself an act of war,” and that “the provisional government owes its existence to an armed invasion by the United States.”

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DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Washington, October 18, 1893

THE PRESIDENT:

The full and impartial reports submitted by the Hon. James H. Blount, your special commissioner to the Hawaiian Islands, established the following facts:

Queen Liliuokalani announced her intention on Saturday, January 14, 1893, to proclaim a new constitution, but the opposition of her ministers and others induced her to speedily changer her purpose and make a public announcement of that fact.

At a meeting in Honolulu, late on the afternoon of that day, a so-called committee of public safety, consisting of thirteen men, being all or nearly all who were present, was appointed “to consider the situation and devise ways and means for the maintenance of the public peace and the protection of life and property,” and at a meeting of this committee on the 15th, or the forenoon of the 16th of January, it was resolved amongst other things that a provisional government be created “to exist until terms of union with the United States of America have been negotiated and agreed upon.” At a mass meeting which assembled at 2 p.m. on the last-named day, the Queen and her supporters were condemned and denounced, and the committee was continued and all its acts approved.

Later the same afternoon the committee addressed a letter to John L. Stevens, the American minister at Honolulu, stating that the lives and property of the people were in peril and appealing to him and the United States forces at his command for assistance. This communication concluded “we are unable to protect ourselves without aid, and therefore hope for the protection of the United States forces.” On receipt of this letter Mr. Stevens requested Capt. Wiltse, commander of the U.S.S. Boston, to land a force “for the protection of the United States legation, United States consulate, and to secure the safety of American life and property.” The well armed troops, accompanied by two gatling guns, were promptly landed and marched through the quiet streets of Honolulu to a public hall, previously secured by Mr. Stevens for their accommodation. This hall was just across the street from the Government building, and in plain view of the Queen’s palace. The reason for thus locating the military will presently appear. The governor of the Island immediately addressed to Mr. Stevens a communication protesting against the act as an unwarranted invasion of Hawaiian soil and reminding him that the proper authorities had never denied permission to the naval forces of the United States to land for drill or any other proper purpose.

About the same time the Queen’s minister of foreign affairs sent a note to Mr. Stevens asking why the troops had been landed and informing him that the proper authorities were able and willing to afford full protection to the American legation and all American interests in Honolulu. Only evasive replies were sent to these communications.

While there were no manifestations of excitement or alarm in the city, and the people were ignorant of the contemplated movement, the committee entered the Government building, after first ascertaining that it was unguarded, and read a proclamation declaring that the existing Government was overthrown and a Provisional Government established in its place, “to exist until terms of union with the United States of America have been negotiated and agreed upon.” No audience was present when the proclamation was read, but during the reading 40 or 50 men, some of them indifferently armed, entered the room. The executive and advisory councils mentioned in the proclamation at once addressed a communication to Mr. Stevens, informing him that the monarchy had been abrogated and a provisional government established. This communication concluded:

Such Provisional Government has been proclaimed, is now in possession of the Governmental departmental buildings, the archives, and the treasury, and is in control of the city. We hereby request that you will, on behalf of the United States, recognize it as the existing de facto Government of the Hawaiian Islands and afford to it the moral support of your Government, and, if necessary, the support of American troops to assist in preserving the public peace.

On receipt of this communication, Mr. Stevens immediately recognized the new Government, and, in a letter addressed to Sanford B. Dole, its President, informed him that he had done so. Mr. Dole replied:

GOVERNMENT BUILDING
Honolulu, January 17, 1893

SIR: I acknowledge receipt of your valued communication of this day, recognizing the Hawaiian Provisional Government, and express deep appreciation of the same.

We have conferred with the ministers of the late Government, and have made demand upon the marshal to surrender the station house. We are not actually yet in possession of the station house, but as night is approaching and our forces may be insufficient to maintain order, we request the immediate support of the United States forces, and would request that the commander of the United States forces take command of our military forces, so that they may act together for the protection of the city.

Respectfully, yours,

SANFORD B. DOLE
Chairman Executive Council.

His Excellency JOHN L. STEVENS,
United States Minister Resident.

Note of Mr. Stevens at the end of the above communication.

The above request not complied with.

STEVENS.

The station house was occupied by a well-armed force, under the command of a resolute capable, officer. The same afternoon the Queen, her ministers, representatives of the Provisional Government, and others held a conference at the palace. Refusing to recognize the new authority or surrender to it, she was informed that the Provisional Government had the support of the American minister, and, if necessary, would be maintained by the military force of the United States present; that any demonstration on her part would precipitate a conflict with that force; that she could not, with hope of success, engage in war with the United States, and that resistance would result in a useless sacrifice of life. Mr. Damon, one of the chief leaders of the movement, and afterwards vice-president of the Provisional Government, informed the Queen that she could surrender under protest and her case would be considered later at Washington. Believing that, under the circumstances, submission was a duty, and that her case would be fairly considered by the President of the United States, the Queen finally yielded and sent to the Provisional Government the paper, which reads:

I, Liliuokalani, by the grace of God and under the constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the constitutional Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a Provisional Government of and for this Kingdom.

That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America, whose minister plenipotentiary, his excellency John L. Stevens, has caused United States troops to be lauded at Honolulu and declared that he would support the Provisional Government.

Now, to avoid any collision of armed forces and perhaps the loss of life, I do, under this protest, and impelled by said force, yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon the facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representative and reinstate me and the authority which I claim as the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.

When this paper was prepared at the conclusion of the conference, and signed by the Queen and her ministers, a number of persons, including one or more representatives of the Provisional Government, who were still present and understood its contents, by their silence, at least, acquiesced in its statements, and, when it was carried to President Dole, he indorsed upon it, “Received from the hands of the late cabinet this 17th day of January, 1893,” without challenging the truth of any of its assertions. Indeed, it was not claimed on the 17th day of January, or for some time thereafter, by any of the designated officers of the Provisional Government or any annexationist that the Queen surrendered otherwise than as stated in her protest.

In his dispatch to Mr. Foster of January 18, describing the so-called revolution, Mr. Stevens says:

The committee of public safety forthwith took possession of the Government building, archives, and treasury, and installed the Provisional Government at the head of the respective departments. This being an accomplished fact, I promptly recognized the Provisional Government as the de facto government of the Hawaiian Islands.

In Secretary Foster’s communication of February 15 to the President, laying before him the treaty of annexation, with the view to obtaining the advice and consent of the Senate thereto, he says:

At the time the Provisional Government took possession of the Government building no troops or officers of the United States were present or took any part whatever in the proceedings. No public recognition was accorded to the Provisional Government by the United States minister until after the Queen’s abdication, and when they were in effective possession of the Government building, the archives, the treasury, the barracks, the police station, and all the potential machinery of the Government.

Similar language is found in an official letter addressed to Secretary Foster on February 3 by the special commissioners sent to Washington by the Provisional Government to negotiate a treaty of annexation.

These statements are utterly at variance with the evidence, documentary and oral, contained in Mr. Blount’s reports. They are contradicted by declarations and letters of President Dole and other annexationists and by Mr. Stevens’s own verbal admissions to Mr. Blount. The Provisional Government was recognized when it had little other than a paper existence, and when the legitimate government was in full possession and control of the palace, the barracks, and the police station. Mr. Stevens’s well-known hostility and the threatening presence of the force landed from the Boston was all that could then have excited serious apprehension in the minds of the Queen, her officers, and loyal supporters.

It is fair to say that Secretary Foster’s statements were based upon information which he had received from Mr. Stevens and the special commissioners, but I am unable to see that they were deceived. The troops were landed, not to protect American life and property, but to aid in overthrowing the existing government. Their very presence implied coercive measures against it.

In a statement given to Mr. Blount, by Admiral Skerrett, the ranking naval officer at Honolulu, he says:

If the troops were landed simply to protect American citizens and interests, they were badly stationed in Arion Hall, but if the intention was to aid the Provisional Government they were wisely stationed.

This hall was so situated that the troops in it easily commanded the Government building, and the proclamation was read under the protection of American guns. At an early stage of the movement, if not at the beginning, Mr. Stevens promised the annexationists that as soon as they obtained possession of the Government building and there read a proclamation of the character above referred to, ho would at once recognize them as a de facto government, and support them by landing a force from our war ship then in the harbor, and he kept that promise. This assurance was the inspiration of the movement, and without it the annexationists would not have exposed themselves to the consequences of failure. They relied upon no military force of their own, for they had none worthy of the name. The Provisional Government was established by the action of the American minister and the presence of the troops landed from the Boston, and its continued existence is due to the belief of the Hawaiians that if they made an effort to overthrow it, they would encounter the armed forces of the United States.

The earnest appeals to the American minister for military protection by the officers of that Government, after it had been recognized, show the utter absurdity of the claim that it was established by a successful revolution of the people of the Islands. Those appeals were a confession by the men who made them of their weakness and timidity. Courageous men, conscious of their strength and the justice of their cause, do not thus act. It is not now claimed that a majority of the people, having the right to vote under the constitution of 1887, ever favored the existing authority or annexation to this or any other country. They earnestly desire that the government of their choice shall be restored and its independence respected.

Mr. Blount states that while at Honolulu he did not meet a single annexationist who expressed willingness to submit the question to a vote of the people, nor did he talk with one on that subject who did not insist that if the Islands were annexed suffrage should be so restricted as to give complete control to foreigners or whites. Representative annexationists have repeatedly made similar statements to the undersigned.

The Government of Hawaii surrendered its authority under a threat of war, until such time only as the Government of the United States, upon the facts being presented to it, should reinstate the constitutional sovereign, and the Provisional Government was created “to exist until terms of union with the United States of America have been negotiated and agreed upon.”   A careful consideration of the facts will, I think, convince you that the treaty which was withdrawn from the Senate for further consideration should not be resubmitted for its action thereon.

Should not the great wrong done to a feeble but independent State by an abuse of the authority of the United States be undone by restoring the legitimate government?   Anything short of that will not, I respectfully submit, satisfy the demands of justice.

Can the United States consistently insist that other nations shall respect the independence of Hawaii while not respecting it themselves? Our Government was the first to recognize the independence of the Islands and it should be the last to acquire sovereignty over them by force and fraud.

Respectfully submitted.
W.Q. GRESHAM.

Feb. 11, 2023 Symposium – The Royal Commission of Inquiry Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom

The Hawaiian Society of Law & Politics (HSLP), in collaboration with the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the National Lawyers Guild, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa College of Education, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Native Hawaiian Student Services, and the Kamehameha Schools Kanaeokana, invites you to its February 11, 2023 Symposium showcasing the Royal Commission of Inquiry – Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom. The event is at no cost but you’ll need to register to ensure you can get a seat. The auditorium is air conditioned and sits 300. The symposium will also be live streamed on Facebook via NHSS UH Mānoa for those who are unable to attend.

The half-day symposium will feature experts in the fields of international law, international relations, international criminal law and war crimes, and Hawaiian Kingdom law on the topic of the American occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since January 17, 1893. 

Dr. Kamana‘opono Crabbe will open the symposium with a Hawaiian chant and then followed by a special appearance by Hawaiian actor Jason Scott Lee who acted in films such as Dragon – the Bruce Lee Story, the Jungle BookRapanuiMulan, and The Wind and the Reckoning.

Presenters to follow include Professor William Schabas, renowned expert in international criminal law and war crimes from Middlesex University London, author of “Legal Opinion on War Crimes Related to the United States Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since 17 January 1893;” Professor Federico Lenzerini, professor of international law from the University of Siena, Italy, and Deputy Head of the Royal Commission of Inquiry, author of “Legal Opinion on the Authority of the Council of Regency of the Hawaiian Kingdom;” and Dr. Keanu Sai, a Lecturer in Political Science and Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai‘i, and Head of the Royal Commission of Inquiry, author of “The Royal Commission of Inquiry.” The presenters will discuss the subject matter of their respective articles which have been published by the Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics. Following their presentations, the presenters will sit together on a panel to answer questions from the audience.

The symposium will also have as a finale a presentation celebrating Aloha ‘Āina (Hawaiian Patriotism) through mele (song) by well known Hawaiian entertainers and musicians featuring Mele Apana, Lina Girl, Davey D, Amy Gilliom, Mailani Makainai, Ku‘uipo Kumukahi, Sean Pimental, Glenn Maeda, Danny Kennedy, Na Wai Ho‘olu‘u o ke Ānuenue, and Heuaʻolu Sai-Dudoit.

SYMPOSIUM SCHEDULE: The symposium will begin at 11:00am and end at 4:30pm at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Art Building auditorium across from Varney Circle where the water fountain is. Here is a link to a map of UH Mānoa. Light lunch and drinks included at no cost.

Registration is now open for all UH Mānoa students, faculty and staff, as well as community members. Click here to register for the event.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: February 10, 2023

For any questions or concerns, please contact nhss@hawaii.edu.

Click here to visit HSLP’s Symposium’s website

National Holiday – Independence Day (November 28)

November 28th is the most important national holiday in the Hawaiian Kingdom. It is the day Great Britain and France formally recognized the Hawaiian Islands as an “independent state” in 1843, and has since been celebrated as “Independence Day,” which in the Hawaiian language is “La Ku‘oko‘a.” Here follows the story of this momentous event from the Hawaiian Kingdom Board of Education history textbook titled “A Brief History of the Hawaiian People” published in 1891.

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George Simpson
Haalilio

The First Embassy to Foreign Powers—In February, 1842, Sir George Simpson and Dr. McLaughlin, governors in the service of the Hudson Bay Company, arrived at Honolulu on business, and became interested in the native people and their government. After a candid examination of the controversies existing between their own countrymen and the Hawaiian Government, they became convinced that the latter had been unjustly accused. Sir George offered to loan the government ten thousand pounds in cash, and advised the king to send commissioners to the United States and Europe with full power to negotiate new treaties, and to obtain a guarantee of the independence of the kingdom.

Accordingly Sir George Simpson, Haalilio, the king’s secretary, and Mr. Richards were appointed joint ministers-plenipotentiary to the three powers on the 8th of April, 1842.

William Richards

Mr. Richards also received full power of attorney for the king. Sir George left for Alaska, whence he traveled through Siberia, arriving in England in November. Messrs. Richards and Haalilio sailed July 8th, 1842, in a chartered schooner for Mazatlan, on their way to the United States*

*Their business was kept a profound secret at the time.

Proceedings of the British Consul—As soon as these facts became known, Mr. Charlton followed the embassy in order to defeat its object. He left suddenly on September 26th, 1842, for London via Mexico, sending back a threatening letter to the king, in which he informed him that he had appointed Mr. Alexander Simpson as acting-consul of Great Britain. As this individual, who was a relative of Sir George, was an avowed advocate of the annexation of the islands to Great Britain, and had insulted and threatened the governor of Oahu, the king declined to recognize him as British consul. Meanwhile Mr. Charlton laid his grievances before Lord George Paulet commanding the British frigate “Carysfort,” at Mazatlan, Mexico. Mr. Simpson also sent dispatches to the coast in November, representing that the property and persons of his countrymen were in danger, which introduced Rear-Admiral Thomas to order the “Carysfort” to Honolulu to inquire into the matter.

Daniel Webster

Recognition by the United States—Messres. Richards and Haalilio arrived in Washington early in December, and had several interviews with Daniel Webster, the Secretary of State, from whom they received an official letter December 19th, 1842, which recognized the independence of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and declared, “as the sense of the government of the United States, that the government of the Sandwich Islands ought to be respected; that no power ought to take possession of the islands, either as a conquest or for the purpose of the colonization; and that no power ought to seek for any undue control over the existing government, or any exclusive privileges or preferences in matters of commerce.” *

*The same sentiments were expressed in President Tyler’s message to Congress of December 30th, and in the Report of the Committee on Foreign Relations, written by John Quincy Adams.

Aberdeen

Success of the Embassy in Europe—The king’s envoys proceeded to London, where they had been preceded by the Sir George Simpson, and had an interview with the Earl of Aberdeen, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, on the 22d of February, 1843.

Lord Aberdeen at first declined to receive them as ministers from an independent state, or to negotiate a treaty, alleging that the king did not govern, but that he was “exclusively under the influence of Americans to the detriment of British interests,” and would not admit that the government of the United States had yet fully recognized the independence of the islands.

Sir George and Mr. Richards did not, however, lose heart, but went on to Brussels March 8th, by a previous arrangement made with Mr. Brinsmade. While there, they had an interview with Leopold I., king of the Belgians, who received them with great courtesy, and promised to use his influence to obtain the recognition of Hawaiian independence. This influence was great, both from his eminent personal qualities and from his close relationship to the royal families of England and France.

Encouraged by this pledge, the envoys proceeded to Paris, where, on the 17th, M. Guizot, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, received them in the kindest manner, and at once engaged, in behalf of France, to recognize the independence of the islands. He made the same statement to Lord Cowley, the British ambassador, on the 19th, and thus cleared the way for the embassy in England.

They immediately returned to London, where Sir George had a long interview with Lord Aberdeen on the 25th, in which he explained the actual state of affairs at the islands, and received an assurance that Mr. Charlton would be removed. On the 1st of April, 1843, the Earl of Aberdeen formally replied to the king’s commissioners, declaring that “Her Majesty’s Government are willing and have determined to recognize the independence of the Sandwich Islands under their present sovereign,” but insisting on the perfect equality of all foreigners in the islands before the law, and adding that grave complaints had been received from British subjects of undue rigor exercised toward them, and improper partiality toward others in the administration of justice. Sir George Simpson left for Canada April 3d, 1843.

Recognition of the Independence of the Islands—Lord Aberdeen, on the 13th of June, assured the Hawaiian envoys that “Her Majesty’s government had no intention to retain possession of the Sandwich Islands,” and a similar declaration was made to the governments of France and the United States.

At length, on the 28th of November, 1843, the two governments of France and England united in a joint declaration to the effect that “Her Majesty, the queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and His Majesty, the king of the French, taking into consideration the existence in the Sandwich Islands of a government capable of providing for the regularity of its relations with foreign nations have thought it right to engage reciprocally to consider the Sandwich Islands as an independent state, and never to take possession, either directly or under the title of a protectorate, or under any other form, of any part of the territory of which they are composed…”

John C Calhoun

This was the final act by which the Hawaiian Kingdom was admitted within the pale of civilized nations. Finding that nothing more could be accomplished for the present in Paris, Messrs. Richards and Haalilio returned to the United States in the spring of 1844. On the 6th of July they received a dispatch from Mr. J.C. Calhoun, the Secretary of State, informing them that the President regarded the statement of Mr. Webster and the appointment of a commissioner “as a full recognition on the part of the United States of the independence of the Hawaiian Government.”

UPDATE – Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden: The United States’ Unlawful Actions in Hawai‘i since 1893 have “Come Home to Roost”

The phrase “come home to roost” means to have unfavorable repercussions for actions taken in the past, example: “You ought to have known that your lies would come home to roost in the end”—Charles West, Stage Fright. Proceedings in Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden is drawing attention to the United States and State of Hawai‘i actions of the past.

When federal court proceedings for Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden were initiated on May 20, 2021, the court’s status as an Article III Court was the primary issue. Article III refers to the judicial branch of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution does not have any legal enforcement outside the United States, and, therefore, federal courts can only operate within U.S. territory. Because the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist as an independent, but occupied, State, the federal court in Honolulu has no legal basis.

However, under U.S. law, a federal court can operate outside of the United States if the foreign territory is being belligerently occupied by the U.S. In this case, the authority would come under Article II of the U.S. Constitution, which is the executive branch of government headed by the President. As the President is the commander-in-chief of the military that is occupying foreign territory, an Article II Occupation Court can be established to administer the laws of the occupied country and international humanitarian law—laws of war, which includes the law of occupation. The 1907 Hague Regulations and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention regulate foreign occupations.

After the Nazi government was overthrown in 1945, the United States, along with France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union began to occupy the German State. In the United States sector of occupation, an Article II Occupation Court was established to administer German law and international humanitarian law.

When the proceedings began, the focus was on getting the federal court to transform from an Article III Court to an Article II Occupation Court. The International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the National Lawyers Guild and the Water Protector Legal Collective, co-authored an amicus curiae brief that would assist the federal court to understand what an Article II Occupation Court is and why the federal court should transform from an Article III Court. Their request to file the brief was approved by Magistrate Judge Rom Trader on September 30, 2021, and the amicus brief was filed with the court on October 6, 2021.

The focus in these proceedings have recently shifted from having the federal court transform to an Article II Occupation Court to a preliminary issue called the Lorenzo principle. The Lorenzo principle is State of Hawai‘i common law or judge made law that centers on whether the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist as a State despite the overthrow of its government by the United States on January 17, 1893.

The case that the Lorenzo principle is based on is State of Hawai‘i v. Lorenzo that came before the Hawai‘i Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) in 1994. The principle is evidence based and requires defendants in cases that have come before courts of the State of Hawai‘i since 1994 to provide evidence that the kingdom continues to exist and to not just argue that it exists. This was the case in State of Hawai‘i v. Araujo, where the ICA stated:

Because Araujo has not, either below or on appeal, “‘presented any factual or legal basis for concluding that the Kingdom exists as a state in accordance with recognized attributes of a state’s sovereign nature,’” (citing Lorenzo, 77 Hawai‘i at 221, 883 P.2d at 643), his point of error on appeal must fail.

The Lorenzo principle also separates the Native Hawaiian sovereignty movement and nation building from the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State. The Hawai‘i Supreme Court, in State of Hawai‘i v. Armitage, not only clarified the evidentiary burden but also discerned between a new Native Hawaiian nation brought about through nation-building, and the Hawaiian Kingdom that existed as a State in the nineteenth century. The Hawai‘i Supreme Court explained:

Petitioners’ theory of nation-building as a fundamental right under the ICA’s decision in Lorenzo does not appear viable. Lorenzo held that, for jurisdictional purposes, should a defendant demonstrate a factual or legal basis that the [Hawaiian Kingdom] “exists as a state in accordance with recognized attributes of a state’s sovereign nature[,]” and that he or she is a citizen of that sovereign state, a defendant may be able to argue that the courts of the State of Hawai‘i lack jurisdiction over him or her. Thus, Lorenzo does not recognize a fundamental right to build a sovereign Hawaiian nation.

In these proceedings, the Hawaiian Kingdom has clearly provided irrefutable evidence that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist as a State, especially when the Permanent Court of Arbitration acknowledged its continued existence in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom. In this type of a situation, the Lorenzo principle, when applying international law, requires the party opposing the continued existence of the kingdom to provide evidence, whether factual or legal, that the kingdom does not continue to exist.

In other words, if any of the defendants in these proceedings wants the court to dismiss this case, they are required to provide evidence that the kingdom no longer exists in accordance with the standard of evidence that the Lorenzo principle established. Clear evidence that the Hawaiian Kingdom would no longer exist as a State is a treaty of cession where the Hawaiian Kingdom incorporated itself into the United States. There is no such treaty.

On June 19, 2022, the Clerk of the federal court entered defaults for the State of Hawai‘i, Governor David Ige, Securities Commissioner Ty Nohara, and Director of the Department of Taxation Isaac Choy for failing to answer the amended complaint filed on August 11, 2021.

In an attempt to have the federal court set aside the defaults, the State of Hawai‘i Attorney General’s office, on behalf of the State of Hawai‘i, Governor Ige, Securities Commissioner Nohara and the Director of Taxation Choy, filed a motion to set aside defaults on August 12, 2022.

In its memorandum in support of its motion, the State of Hawai‘i Defendants stated that once the defaults are set aside they intend to file a motion to dismiss because since the case presents a political question, the federal court has no jurisdiction over the issue and must dismiss the case. It is the same argument that the Federal Defendants are making. Both claim that the political branches of government, which are the President and Congress, no longer recognizes the Hawaiian Kingdom, and until they do federal courts cannot have jurisdiction because it is a question for the political branches to decide first.

What undercuts this argument is the United States own Restatement (Third) Foreign Relations Law, §202, comment g, which clearly states, “The duty to treat a qualified entity as a state also implies that so long as the entity continues to meet those qualifications its statehood may not be ‘derecognized.’ If the entity ceases to meet those requirements, it ceases to be a state and derecognition is not necessary.”

This is merely reiterating the rule of customary international law. According to Professor Oppenheim, once recognition of a State is granted, it “is incapable of withdrawal” by the recognizing State. And Professor Schwarzenberger explains that “recognition estops the State which has recognized the title from contesting its validity at any future time.”

The United States cannot simply de-recognize an independent State because it is politically convenient to do so. If it were such a case and allowable under international law, which it is not, then why wouldn’t the United States de-recognize its adversaries like China, Russia and North Korea.

Another problem that both the Federal and the State of Hawai‘i Defendants have is the Lorenzo principle that binds all State of Hawai‘i courts and the federal court in Honolulu. The Lorenzo principle states that the question as to whether the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist as a State is a “legal question” and not a “political question.”

A legal question is where a court makes a decision based on factual or legal evidence, and in order for the court to decide that legal question it must have jurisdiction to do so. A political question prevents the court from deciding because it does not have jurisdiction in the first place. This is an absurd argument and in all 53 cases that applied the Lorenzo principle by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court and the Intermediate Court of Appeals, and the 17 case that applied the Lorenzo principle in the federal court in Honolulu and by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, not one argued the political question doctrine.

Here when the evidence is abundantly clear that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist as a State, the Federal and State of Hawai‘i Defendants scream POLITICAL QUESTION. This baseless argument really speaks volumes as to the strength of the evidence in this case that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist as a State.

Yesterday, the Hawaiian Kingdom filed its Opposition and requested that Magistrate Judge Trader schedule an evidentiary hearing so that the State of Hawai‘i Defendants can prove with evidence that the Hawaiian Kingdom no longer exists as a State according to the evidentiary standard set by the Lorenzo principle. The Hawaiian Kingdom also filed a request for the Magistrate Judge to take Judicial Notice of evidence that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist as a State.

In its Opposition, the Hawaiian Kingdom concluded with:

For these reasons, the Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court schedule an evidentiary hearing in accordance with the Lorenzo principle for the State Defendants to provide rebuttable evidence, whether factual or legal, that the Hawaiian Kingdom ceases to exist as a State in light of the evidence and law in the instant motion. If the State Defendants are unable to proffer rebuttable evidence, the Plaintiff respectfully requests that this Court transform into an Article II Occupation Court in order for the Court to possess subject matter and personal jurisdiction to consider the State Defendants’ motion to set aside defaults. The transformation to an Article II Occupation Court is fully elucidated in the brief of amici curiae the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Water Protectors Legal Collective [ECF 96]. When the Court has jurisdiction, the Plaintiff will not oppose the State Defendants motion to set aside defaults.

Should the State Defendants proffer evidence of a treaty of cession that the Hawaiian Kingdom ceded its territory and sovereignty to the United States, whereby the Hawaiian State ceased to exist under international law, the Plaintiff will withdraw its amended complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief [ECF 55] and bring these proceedings to a close.

Plaintiff’s request for an evidentiary hearing and judicial notice pursuant to the Lorenzo principle is in compliance with §34 of the Federal Judiciary Act of September 24, 1789, 28 U.S.C. §1652, which provides, “The laws of the several states, except where the Constitution or treaties of the United States or Acts of Congress otherwise require or provide, shall be regarded as rules of decision in civil actions in the courts of the United States, in cases where they apply.”

As the United States Supreme Court, in Erie R.R. v. Tompkins, stated, “federal courts are […] bound to follow decisions of the courts of the State in which the controversies arise.” This case is manifestly governed by Erie and the Lorenzo principle. It is not governed by Baker v. Carr as to the political question doctrine.

UPDATE: Hawaiian Kingdom files Motion for Evidentiary Hearing to Compel the Federal Defendants to Prove the Hawaiian Kingdom Does Not Exist According to the Lorenzo Principle

On August 15, 2022, Judge Leslie Kobayashi filed an Order denying the Hawaiian Kingdom’s request to allow the Ninth Circuit to review her previous Order dated July 28, 2022, denying the Hawaiian Kingdom’s motion to reconsider her decision. Federal rules allow a party to file a motion for reconsideration within 10 days of the Order. In her August 15 Order, she stated:

“Here, whether the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist as a sovereign and independent state is not a controlling question of law. ‘The Ninth Circuit, this court, and Hawaii state courts have rejected arguments asserting Hawaiian sovereignty.’ Although the resolution of whether the Hawaiian Kingdom exists as a sovereign and independent state could, theoretically, materially affect the outcome of litigation, the question presented does not rise to the level of an exceptional case warranting departure from the congressional directive to grant interlocutory appeals sparingly.”

The Hawaiian Kingdom does not agree with Judge Kobayashi that the Hawaiian Kingdom’s existence is not a controlling question of law that would bind the Court. On August 24, 2022, the Hawaiian Kingdom filed a motion for Judge Kobayashi to reconsider her decision on the grounds of judicial estoppel, and in accordance with the Lorenzo principle to schedule an evidentiary hearing in order to compel the Federal Defendants to prove that the Hawaiian Kingdom no longer exists as a State. According to the Ninth Circuit, in Rissetto v. Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 343, judicial estoppel prevents “a party from gaining an advantage by taking one position, and then seeking a second advantage by taking an incompatible position.”

In its recent filing, the Hawaiian Kingdom drew attention to the United States’ position in support of the Lorenzo principle in United States v. Goo in 2002 where it prevailed, and then in these proceedings regarding the Lorenzo principle they act as if it never existed. The Lorenzo principle stems from the Hawai‘i Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) case State of Hawai‘i v. Lorenzo that centered on the subject of whether the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State still exists.

This case not only placed the burden of proof that the Kingdom still exists on the defendant, but it also separated the Hawaiian Kingdom from the native Hawaiian sovereignty movement and nation building. In 2014, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court, in State of Hawai‘i v. Armitage, explained:

“Petitioners’ theory of nation-building as a fundamental right under the ICA’s decision in Lorenzo does not appear viable. Lorenzo held that, for jurisdictional purposes, should a defendant demonstrate a factual or legal basis that the [Hawaiian Kingdom] ‘exists as a state in accordance with recognized attributes of a state’s sovereign nature[,]’ and that he or she is a citizen of that sovereign state, a defendant may be able to argue that the courts of the State of Hawai‘i lack jurisdiction over him or her. Thus, Lorenzo does not recognize a fundamental right to build a sovereign Hawaiian nation.”

The ICA reiterated that a defendant has to provide evidence of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s existence as a State and not just say it exists. In State of Hawai‘i v. Araujo, the ICA stated:

Because Araujo has not, either below or on appeal, “‘presented any factual or legal basis for concluding that the Kingdom exists as a state in accordance with recognized attributes of a state’s sovereign nature,’” (citing Lorenzo, 77 Hawai‘i at 221, 883 P.2d at 643), his point of error on appeal must fail.

The Lorenzo court, however, also acknowledged that it may have misplaced the burden of proof and what needs to be proven. It stated, “although the court’s rationale is open to question in light of international law, the record indicates that the decision was correct because Lorenzo did not meet his burden of proving his defense of lack of jurisdiction.”

Because international law provides for the presumption of the continuity of the State despite the overthrow of its government by another State, it shifts the burden of proof and what is to be proven. According to Judge Crawford, there “is a presumption that the State continues to exist, with its rights and obligations despite a period in which there is no, or no effective, government.” Judge Crawford also stated that belligerent occupation “does not affect the continuity of the State, even where there exists no government claiming to represent the occupied State.”

In other words, under international law, it is presumed the Hawaiian Kingdom still exists as a State despited its government being militarily overthrown by the United States on January 17 1893. Addressing the presumption of the continuity of the German State after hostilities ceased in Europe during the Second World War, Professor Brownlie explains:

“Thus, after the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War the four major Allied powers assumed supreme power in Germany. The legal competence of the German state [its independence and sovereignty] did not, however, disappear. What occurred is akin to legal representation or agency of necessity. The German state continued to exist, and, indeed, the legal basis of the occupation depended on its continued existence.”

“If one were to speak about a presumption of continuity,” explains Professor Craven, “one would suppose that an obligation would lie upon the party opposing that continuity to establish the facts substantiating its rebuttal. The continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom, in other words, may be refuted only by reference to a valid demonstration of legal title, or sovereignty, on the part of the United States, absent of which the presumption remains.” A “valid demonstration of legal title” would be an international treaty where the Hawaiian Kingdom ceded itself to the United States. No such treaty, except for the “Big Lie” that Hawai‘i is a part of the United States.

Up until now, the State of Hawai‘i courts and the federal court in Honolulu have been placing the burden on the defendants to prove the Kingdom still exists. Whether the burden is to prove the kingdom’s existence or to prove it doesn’t exist, it is a controlling law that binds the State of Hawai‘i courts.

The Lorenzo case had become a precedent case and was cited by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court in 8 cases, and by the ICA in 45 cases. The latest Hawai‘i Supreme Court’s citation of Lorenzo was in 2020 in State of Hawai‘i v. Malave. The most recent citation of Lorenzo by the ICA was in 2021 in Bank of N.Y. Mellon v. Cummings. Since 1994, Lorenzo had risen to precedent, and, therefore, is common law. Federal law mandates federal courts to apply the common law of the State where the court is.

U.S. District Judge David Ezra, who was the presiding judge in United States v. Goo, stated that he was adhering to the Lorenzo principle and that the defendant did not meet his burden of proof. The defendant was claiming that “he is immune from suit or judgment in any court of the United States or the State of Hawaii. Defendant contends that the State is illegally occupying the Kingdom, and thus the laws of the Kingdom should govern his conduct rather than any state or federal laws. Therefore, Defendant opposes an order from a federal court forcing him to pay “foreign” taxes through a foreclosure mechanism.”

In these proceedings, the Federal Defendants act as if there is no such thing as the Lorenzo principle, which is contrary to their position as the United States in the Goo case. The Federal Defendants managed to convince Judge Kobayashi that the case should be dismissed because the issue of whether the kingdom exists is a political question which does not allow the court to have jurisdiction. Without jurisdiction it wouldn’t be able to have an evidentiary hearing.

In none of the 53 cases that cited the Lorenzo principle did the courts invoke the political question doctrine. Even in the 17 federal cases that applied the Lorenzo principle, which includes Goo, did the courts invoke the political question doctrine. All stated the defendants failed to provide any evidence that the Hawaiian Kingdom still exists as a State.

The Lorenzo principle gives the State of Hawai‘i and the federal court limited jurisdiction to hear the evidence. If there is no evidence that the Hawaiian Kingdom still exists it maintains its jurisdiction. But if evidence shows that the Hawaiian Kingdom still exists, then the courts has no jurisdiction. In these proceedings, when the Federal Defendants fail to provide evidence that the Kingdom no longer exists, the Court will have to transform itself into an Article II Occupation Court in order to have jurisdiction over the complaint filed by the Hawaiian Kingdom.

The issue is not a “political question” but rather a “legal question” that the court has jurisdiction in order to hear the evidence. In another case that came before the ICA, in State of Hawai‘i v. Lee, ICA stated that the Lorenzo court “suggested that it is an open legal question whether the ‘Kingdom of Hawai‘i’ still exists.”

The Federal Defendants are attempting to make an end run on the football field and argue that the Hawaiian Kingdom cannot tackle them. It is an attempt by the Federal Defendants to overcome a difficulty without directly confronting it, which is precisely why judicial estoppel applies and judicial integrity is the primary function of judicial estoppel. Here is what federal courts of appeal say regarding judicial estoppel:

According to the First Circuit, judicial estoppel is to be used “when a litigant is ‘playing fast and loose with the courts,’ and when ‘international self-contradiction is being used as a means of obtaining unfair advantage in a forum provided for suitors seeking justice.’”

The Second Circuit states that judicial estoppel “is supposed to protect judicial integrity by preventing litigants from playing fast and loose with courts, thereby avoiding unfair results and unseemliness.”

The Third Circuit established a requirement that “the party changed his or her position in bad faith, i.e., in a culpable manner threatening to the court’s authority and integrity.”

The Fourth Circuit applies judicial estoppel to prevent litigants from “blowing hot and cold as the occasion demands.”

According to the Fifth Circuit, “litigants undermine the integrity of the judicial process when they deliberately tailor contradictory (as opposed to alternate) positions to the exigencies of the moment.”

The Sixth Circuit states that judicial estoppel “preserves the integrity of the courts by preventing a party from abusing the judicial process through cynical gamesmanship, achieving success on one position, then arguing the opposite to suit an exigency of the moment.”

The Seventh Circuit seeks to have judicial estoppel “to protect the judicial system from being whipsawed with inconsistent arguments.”

The Eighth Circuit says, “the purpose of judicial estoppel is to protect the integrity of the judicial process. As we read the caselaw, this is tantamount to a knowing misrepresentation to or even fraud on the court.”

The Ninth Circuit allows judicial estoppel to preclude “a party from gaining an advantage by taking one position, and then seeking a second advantage by taking an incompatible position.”

Observing that for judicial estoppel to apply, according to the Eleventh Circuit, the “inconsistencies must be shown to have been calculated to make a mockery of the judicial system.”

This inconsistent position taken by the Federal Defendants has placed the Hawaiian Kingdom in an unfair position. In its closing statement, the Hawaiian Kingdom stated:

“If the Federal Defendants are confident that “Plaintiff’s claim and assertions lack merit,” then let them make their case that the Hawaiian Kingdom “ceases to be a state” under international law pursuant to the Lorenzo principle that the Goo court adhered to. But they cannot prevail by having the Court muzzle the Plaintiff in its own case seeking justice under the rule of law.”

The United States knows that over a century of lies is coming to an end because there never was any evidence that the Hawaiian Kingdom no longer exists as a State. As Sir Walter Scott wrote in 1808, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” It means that when you act dishonestly you are initiating problems, and a domino structure of complications, which will eventually run out of control.