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HONOLULU, Hawaii: After a day of oral arguments, the Hawaii Supreme Court has found the 2011 Final Reapportionment Plan to be constitutionally invalid.
From the Order Granting Petition for Writ of Mandamus and Judicial Review:
(By: Recktenwald, C.J., Nakayama, Acoba, Duffy, and McKenna, JJ.)
Upon consideration of the petition for a writ of mandamus and judicial review filed by petitioners Malama Solomon, Louis Hao, Patricia A. Cook and Steven G. Pavao, the answers by respondent Governor Neil Abercrombie, the Chief Election Officer, and the 2011 State of Hawaii Reapportionment Commission, and oral argument, we conclude that the 2011 Final Reapportionment Plan is constitutionally invalid. The Hawaii Constitution, article IV, section 4, expressly mandates that only permanent residents be counted in the population base for the purpose ofreapportionment. The 2011 Final Reapportionment Plan disregardsthis constitutional mandate by including non-permanent residentsin the population base that the Reapportionment Commission usedto allocate the members of the state legislature among the basicisland units. Therefore, pursuant to our power under the Hawaii Constitution, article IV, section 10, to correct any error in a reapportionment plan,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the petition for a writ of mandamus and judicial review is granted. The 2011 Final Reapportionment Plan for the state legislature is hereby invalidated. The 2011 State of Hawaii Reapportionment Commission shall prepare and file a new reapportionment plan that: (1) allocates the members of the state legislature among the basic island units by using a permanent resident population base, and then (2) apportions the members among the districts therein as provided by article IV, section 6. The Chief Election Officer shall rescind the publication of the 2011 Final Reapportionment Plan for the state legislature. An opinion will follow.
As the Hawaii State Judiciary website explains, “The 2011 Final Reapportionment Plan apportioned each house of the state legislature by allocating and maintaining, as to the Senate, eighteen seats for Oahu County, three seats for Hawaii County, three seats for Maui County, and one seat for Kauai County. Petitioners contend that the allocation is not based on the total number of permanent residents in each of the counties, as required by the Hawai`i Constitution, article IV, section 4. Petitioners contend that the allocation is based on a permanent resident population that does not exclude all non-permanent residents and that the exclusion of all non-permanent residents results in an allocation wherein Hawaii County gains a fourth senate seat and Oahu County loses a senate seat.”