By Michael Palcic – Hawaii Democrats are now gloating over a federal court decision by a three judge panel announced July 12, 2013, to uphold the exclusion of 108,000 citizens of the United States from apportionment to any state legislative body in the entire nation.
That’s right. To obtain a state senate seat for the Big Island at the expense of Oahu, Democrats in control of Hawaii politics have defied the extensive and clear definition of residency put forth by the United States Census Bureau in favor of a wholly undefined term in the Hawaii State Constitution.
By doing so, all of those excluded are deprived of apportionment not only to our state legislature but to any other state legislature as well. The Census Bureau says they live here, so they cannot be counted as living anywhere else.
The City & County of Honolulu did not exclude these residents from its council districts. Just the state.
The Hawaii Attorney General’s claim that inclusion of these people in our legislative apportionment would lead to over representation is a complete falsehood. He says they are not “permanent residents,” without saying what constitutes permanent residency. His advocacy deprives them of any representation.
All of this has been achieved in an entirely underhanded manner. Early on in its proceedings, the Hawaii State Reapportionment Commission, upon recommendation of the Oahu Apportionment Advisory Council, voted 8 to 1 to include the entire United States Census count in the apportionment of Hawaii’s legislative districts. Then in secret meetings, a subcommittee of the commission extracted over 8% of Hawaii’s population. They arbitrarily removed two large groups while ignoring others that were harder to identify.
This malfeasance deserves scrutiny by the United States Supreme Court where, I believe, a proper reading of the 14th amendment guaranteeing individual citizens equal protection of the laws will overturn the injustice done here.
Michael Palcic is the Chairman of the Oahu Apportionment Advisory Council