Robert Thomas
Robert Thomas

BY ROBERT THOMAS – Not only did the State win the reapportionment legal case in which it successfully argued that military personnel and their families who reside in Hawaii are not “permanent residents” and thus may be treated as outlanders and ignored for state reapportionment purposes [we represented the plaintiffs who challenged that scheme], but with the proposed defense cuts, it seems that Hawaii officials are now all worried that we might not have all those federal defense dollars flowing so readily from off-island that the large military presence in the islands brings (roughly $18 billion per year).

It was always ironic to us that on one hand, the State of Hawaii and seemingly every Hawaii pol aggressively lobbied for a large military presence in Hawaii in order to enjoy the money and the extra seat in Congress that Hawaii’s military population brings us, but when it came time to count these folks in the population for state apportionment and districting, Hawaii law considers them to be “transients,” and aggressively treats them as invisible: mahalo for your money, but don’t expect to be counted.

But although irony and inconsistency do not a legal case make and we lost that one in the courts, it seems that perhaps the State is now getting its wish. Not only will the soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and their families be legally invisible, they might be really gone as well.

– See more at: http://www.inversecondemnation.com/#sthash.uTi0w5SS.dpuf

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Robert H. Thomas is one of the preeminent land use lawyers in Hawaii. He specializes in land use issues including regulatory takings, eminent domain, water rights, and voting rights cases. He has tried cases and appeals in Hawaii, California, and the federal courts. Robert received his LLM, with honors, from Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and his JD from the University of Hawaii School of Law where he served as editor of the Law Review. Robert taught law at the University of Santa Clara School of Law, and was an exam grader and screener for the California Committee of Bar Examiners. He currently serves as the Chair of the Condemnation Law Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on State & Local Government Law. He is the Hawaii member of Owners’ Counsel of America, a national network of the most experienced eminent domain and property rights lawyers. Membership in OCA is by invitation only, and is limited to a single attorney from each state. Robert is also the Managing Attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation Hawaii Center, a non-profit legal foundation dedicated to protecting property rights and individual liberties. Reach him at rht@hawaiilawyer.com He is also a frequent speaker on land use and eminent domain issues in Hawaii and nationwide. For a list of upcoming events and speaking engagements.