Yesterday, the Clerk of the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i entered default for the State of Hawai‘i, Governor David Ige, Securities Commissioner Ty Nohara, and Director of the Department of Taxation Isaac Choy, in federal lawsuit Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden.
In talks with Hawaiian Kingdom Attorney General Dexter Ka‘iama, the State of Hawai‘i Attorney General’s office requested an extension of time to file a response to the Amended Complaint that was filed on August 11, 2021. It was mutually agreed that the filing of a response was due no later than January 10, 2022.
The entry of default against the State of Hawai‘i and its officials prevents them from participating in the proceedings, and, more importantly, an entry of default is an acceptance of the allegations made against them by the Hawaiian Kingdom to be true. The next step is for the Hawaiian Kingdom to file a motion with the Court for default judgment so that it can grant the relief as stated in the Amended Complaint.
Before the Hawaiian Kingdom can file a motion for default judgment, the Court needs to first transform itself into an Article II Occupation Court so that it has jurisdiction over the case.
The Hawaiian Kingdom’s Motion for Judicial Notice of Civil Law on Juridical Fact of the Hawaiian State and the Consequential Juridical Act by the Permanent Court of Arbitration is critical for the Court to transform itself into an Article II Occupation Court, similar to Federal Article II Courts that were established in occupied Germany from 1945-1955.
The Hawaiian Kingdom did not file a Motion for Judicial Notice but rather a Request for Judicial Notice of the Civil Law. It was the Court that transformed the Request into a Motion and gave a timeline for the United States to respond and the Hawaiian Kingdom to reply to that response. A Request for Judicial Notice is considered by the Court alone. The United States filed their response on January 14, 2022, and the Hawaiian Kingdom is preparing to file their reply on January 28.
Instead of refuting the information provided in the Motion for Judicial Notice, the United States argues that it is the legitimate sovereign over the Hawaiian Islands because the “United States annexed Hawaii in 1898, and Hawaii entered the union as a state in 1959.” From this position it then argues that this “Court, the Ninth Circuit, and the courts of the state of Hawaii have repeatedly ‘rejected arguments asserting Hawaiian sovereignty’ distinct from its identity as a part of the United States.”
The Hawaiian Kingdom views the actions taken by the Court regarding the Motion for Judicial Notice as a matter of due diligence on the part of the Court, and, therefore, will be responding to the United States arguments and show why it is without merit.
The legal status of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent State predates, not postdates, 1898. The United States fails to address in its filing that President John Tyler on July 6, 1844, explicitly recognized the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent State by letter from Secretary of State John C. Calhoun to the Hawaiian Commission. This was confirmed by the arbitral tribunal in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom:
“In the nineteenth century the Hawaiian Kingdom existed as an independent State recognized as such by the United States of America, the United Kingdom and various other States, including by exchanges of diplomatic or consular representatives and the conclusion of treaties.”
On January 17, 1893, by an act of war, the United States unlawfully overthrew the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom. President Grover Cleveland entered into an executive agreement with Queen Lili‘uokalani on December 18, 1893, in attempt to restore the government but was politically prevented from doing so by members of Congress. The failure to restore the government, however, did not affect the legal status of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign and independent State under international law.
In Texas v. White, the Supreme Court stated that a “‘state,’ in the ordinary sense of the Constitution, is a political community of free citizens, occupying a territory of defined boundaries, and organized under a government sanctioned and limited by a written constitution, and established by the consent of the governed.” The Supreme Court further stated that a “plain distinction is made [in the U.S. Constitution] between a State and the government of a State.”
Therefore, when the rebels seized control of the Texas government and joined the Confederacy in the Civil War it did not affect or change the State of Texas under the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court’s position is consistent with international law where the “state must be distinguished from the government. The state, not the government, is the major player, the legal person, in international law.”
According to Judge Crawford, “Pending a final settlement of the conflict, belligerent occupation does not affect the continuity of the State. The governmental authorities may be driven into exile or silenced, and the exercise of the powers of the State thereby affected. But it is settled that the powers themselves continue to exist. This is strictly not an application of the ‘actual independence’ rule but an exception to it…pending a settlement of the conflict by a peace treaty or its equivalent.” There is no peace treaty or its equivalent between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States.
In its reply, the Hawaiian Kingdom will expound on the legal presumption of continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State under international law, why the United States cannot invoke its internal law as a justification for not complying with international obligations, and distinguishing the institutional jurisdiction of the Permanent Court of Arbitration from the subject matter jurisdiction of the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom arbitration tribunal, when it acknowledged the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a juridical fact.