BY ROBERT THOMAS – It may be Good Friday (an official State Holiday in Hawaii), but the federal courts are open, and today, on behalf of six plaintiffs including several veterans, we filed a lawsuit challenging under the Equal Protection Clause the State of Hawaii’s practice of excluding military personnel, their families, and university students who pay nonresident tuition from the population count when reapportioning the state legislature.
The U.S. Census counts everyone who is a “usual resident” of Hawaii in its count of population — including military, their families, and university students — but the Hawaii Constitution requires the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission to only count “permanent residents.”
In an opinion issued in January 2012, the Hawaii Supreme Court held this means the Commission must “extract” active duty military, their families, and university students who pay nonresident tuition from the 1.3 million+ persons counted by the Census as usual residents of Hawaii.
This renders invisible nearly 85 of the population. These folks are not counted by the Census in any other state, so Hawaii’s “extraction” means that they are not being counted anywhere.