Editorial: 'Scorn' for Native Hawaiian recognition bill
"A bill expected to pass the House today with overwhelming Democratic support would accomplish something peculiar for a liberal republic in the 21st century: It would partly disenfranchise a portion of one state’s residents, create a parallel government for those meeting a legislated criterion of ethnic purity, and would portend the transfer of public assets, land, and political power from those who fail to satisfy the standard of ethnic purity to those who do. For these reasons and many more, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act richly deserves opposition.

Strangely, though, it has met very little resistance. The bill is being hot-footed out of the House because one of its principal sponsors, Hawaii Democrat Rep. Neil Abercrombie, is leaving Congress to run for governor of his home state. The legislation is chiefly the work of Sen. Daniel Akaka, another Hawaii Democrat, who has proposed similar legislation in the past, without success.

The Akaka bill seeks to apply the model of American Indian tribes’ formal sovereignty to people of native Hawaiian ancestry. Even if we were to accept the wisdom of our longstanding arrangements with the Indian tribes — and in fact they have little other than longevity to recommend them — it would make no sense to replicate those arrangements in the case of ethnic Hawaiians, who constitute neither a coherent tribe nor a continuous political entity. Those two concepts have long defined the “sovereign” relations between the United States and the Indian tribes, and it is probably unconstitutional, and certainly unwise, for Congress to attempt to revamp them in the service of Hawaiian identity politics."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Aloha Segregation (The National Review 2/23)

Related Stories:
Civil Rights commissioners slam Native Hawaiian bill (2/23)
GOP lawmaker expects vote on Native Hawaiians (2/19)
Opinion: Understanding Native Hawaiian recognition bills (01/15)
Editorial: Left in the dark about Native Hawaiian bill (12/21)
Senate panel passes Native Hawaiian recognition bill (12/18)
Editorial: Racial segregation and Native Hawaiians (12/17)
House panel approves Native Hawaiian recognition (12/17)
Audio: House Resources Committee opens markup (12/16)
House panel to consider Indian arts, Hawaiian bill (12/15)
Editorial: 'Racist' Native Hawaiian recognition (09/10)
Editorial: Native Hawaiians and Westerners (08/10)
Obama supports Native Hawaiian recognition (08/07)
Indian Affairs Committee meeting and hearing (8/6)
Witness list for hearing on Native Hawaiian bill (8/5)
House hearing on Native Hawaiian recognition (06/11)
Witness list for hearing on Hawaiian recognition (6/9)
House hearing on Native Hawaiian recognition (6/8)
Shingle Springs Band eyes Hawaiian recognition (5/13)
Opinion: Native Hawaiian tribe a boost for Democrats (2/23)
Obama promises push for Native Hawaiian bill (2/16)
Editorial: Restore Native Hawaiian sovereignty (2/9)
Native Hawaiian recognition bill revived in Congress (2/5)