The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on February 25, 2009, on the State of Hawaii's appeal on a Hawaii Supreme Court decision; the court ruled that the State is prohibited from selling ceded lands until a settlement agreement is reached between the State and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs on the issue of ceded lands.
A good place to review background documents on this case can be found on the ceded lands page of Robert Thomas' blog inversecondemnation.com. (Note that Thomas discloses the fact that his firm filed an amicus brief on this case supporting the State's arguments.)
Today, the House passed SCR40, URGING THE GOVERNOR AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO WITHDRAW THE APPEAL TO THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT OF THE HAWAII STATE SUPREME COURT DECISION, OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS V. HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION OF HAWAII, 117 HAWAII 174 (2008).
SCR40 was adopted by the Senate on Friday and appeared on the House Order of the Day today as having been transmitted from the Senate. Rep. Lyla Berg made a motion to recall the resolution to the floor, and for the House to vote on the measure. While it is unlikely that the Governor would withdraw the appeal, the adoption of the resolution in both House and Senate would send a message to the U.S. Supreme Court prior to the start of oral arguments.
Rep. Kymberly Pine offered a motion to refer the resolution to the Committee on Water, Land & Ocean Resources, where, she argued, the public would have an opportunity to review and comment on the measure. The motion failed.
The House adopted SCR40 with 2 members voting No (Pine, Finnegan), 1 member excused (Takai). Of the 48 Yes votes, 23 voted with reservations.