Members Only: Hawaii Democratic Party Seeks Closed Primary

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Robert Thomas

BY ROBERT THOMAS – A slight detour into our other favorite area of law, election law and voting rights.

Recently, the Democratic Party of Hawaii (finally, after years of hemming and hawing) pulled the trigger on a federal court lawsuit seeking to invalidate Hawaii’s “open primary” laws (Haw. Const. art II, § 4Haw. Rev. Stat. ch. 12), asserting they violate the Party’s First Amendment freedom of association.


Here are the Complaint and the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Preliminary Injunction, filed yesterday.

Here’s more on the story from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (subscription may be necessary for full content). Or, try this story from Civil Beat (although it’s just a republishing of the Party’s press release).

Complaint, Democratic Party of Hawaii v Nago, No. CV13-00301 JMS KSC (D. Haw. 6-17-2013)

– See more at:



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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 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.


  1. oh come on. Stop finding stupid problems! Everyone just wants to get ahead and will do anything to make this happen.

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