Archive for October, 2007
H.R. 505— Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007
Order of Business: The bill is scheduled to be considered on Wednesday, October 24, 2007, subject to a structured or closed rule. Information with regard to any amendments made in order will be provided in a separate document.
Summary: H.R. 505 would recognize and authorize the creation of a sovereign Native
Hawaiian governing entity, i.e. an Indian tribe. In order to do that, the bill would establish a process for organizing the Native Hawaiian people into an entity that knows who its members are, possesses authority over its members, adopts governing documents, etc. Such a tribe would likely have as many as 400,000 members nationwide, including more than 20 percent of Hawaii’s residents, and potential authority over Native Hawaiians in all of the fifty states. If each Native Hawaiian eligible under this legislation were to apply to become a member of the new governing entity, it would be one of the nation’s largest Indian tribe.
For more details on what the bill would do, see the “Detailed Summary” and “Conservative Concerns” sections below.
House To Vote Tomorrow on Akaka Bill [Roger Clegg]
The Washington Times reports today that the House is expected to vote tomorrow on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, also known as the Akaka bill (after its Senate sponsor). As NR readers will recall—the bill has been decried here by the editors, Ramesh, Peter Kirsanow, yours truly, and others—it would create a new “Indian tribe” made up of anyone with a drop of Native Hawaiian blood. The idea is to end-run a Supreme Court decision that said—quite rightly—that preferences for Native Hawaiians are ethnic preferences and therefore presumptively unconstitutional; now, presto!, they will no longer be an ethnic group but an Indian tribe, and discrimination in their favor will be perfectly fine.
The bill is unconstitutional, and it is also ugly, divisive, and balkanizing—for Hawaii, of course, but for the whole country as well, particularly in light of the precedent it sets. The Bush administration issued a statement strongly opposing the bill yesterday. Anyone who votes for it will have a lot to answer for.
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
H.R. 505 – Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007 (Rep. Abercrombie (D) Hawaii and 7 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly opposes passage of H.R. 505. As the U.S. Civil Rights Commission recently noted, this legislation “would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege.” The President has eschewed such divisive legislation as a matter of policy, noting that “we must . . . honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one nation out of many peoples.” This bill would reverse this great American tradition and divide the governing institutions of this country by race. If H.R. 505 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.