Kostick v. Nago

Jurisdictional Statement

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Hawaii's 2012 Reapportionment Plan "extracted" 108,767 residents -- nearly 8% of the total population -- and did not count them as Hawaii "permanent residents." It excluded these people from the body politic: (1) active duty military personnel who indicated on a federal form that another state should withhold taxes, (2) their spouses and children, and (3) students who did not qualify for in-state tuition.

Hawaii acknowledged those whom it "extracted" were not counted anywhere else, and that they were not represented equally in Hawaii. A three-judge US District Court refused to apply close constitutional scrutiny, and concluded that Hawaii’s "permanent resident" population basis was a rational means of protecting other residents’ voting power, which superseded the extracted classes' right to equal representation. The Commission counted others who could not intend to remain permanently (e.g., undocumented aliens), or whose inclusion diluted voting power because they were not qualified to vote (prisoners, minors).

Hawaii also recognized that with overall deviations of 44.22% in the Senate and 21.57% in the House of Representatives—the product of Hawaii’s prohibition of "canoe districts" (districts spanning more than a single county)—the 2012 Reapportionment Plan was presumptively discriminatory. The Supreme Court has never upheld a reapportionment plan with deviations in excess of 16%, which "may well approach tolerable limits." The District Court accepted these substantial departures from population equality because Hawaii is geographically and culturally different.

The plaintiffs appealed directly to the US Supreme Court, and on October 8, 2013, filed this Jurisdictional Statement, arguing that the Court should consider the issues presented substantial, and should schedule full briefing and argument.

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Reference Info:Appellate Brief | Federal, U.S. Supreme Court | United States


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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