Three-Judge Court Hears Hawaii Redistricting Case

On Friday, May 18, a three-judge U.S. District Court heard Kostick v Nago, 1:12-cv-184. This is the case that challenges Hawaii’s legislative redistricting. The plan removed from the census data all the college students who had not lived in Hawaii before they came to Hawaii to attend school, and it also removed all the military personnel who had not lived in Hawaii before they were assigned to military bases in Hawaii.

The state defends the plan by saying there is a procedure by which these students and military can fill out a form, saying they intend to remain in Hawaii in the future.

According to this story, at least one of the three judges expressed grave reluctance to postpone the August 11 primary. Filing for that primary starts on June 5.


  1. Demo Rep · · Reply

    ALLEGIANCE to a regime — see 14th Amdt, Sec. 1 defining State citizen.
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  2. Jim Riley · · Reply

    #1 What is a resident?

    If one is stationed in Afghanistan, do they reside there?

  3. Jim Riley · · Reply

    Hawaii bases its apportionment on “resident population”. Alaska used to do the same, and it was upheld as constitutional, but then Alaska changed voluntarily.

    The concern is the relatively large military population and dependents, which account to up to 10% of the total population. This is heavily concentrated on Oahu, particularly in the western part of the island.

    The big problem is measuring permanent residents, since the census bureau doesn’t, and Hawaii doesn’t want to spend the money on its own census (there is no requirement that apportionment, particularly for a legislature, be based on a federal census).

    The reapportionment commission originally decided only to not count military living in barracks.

    Any other adjustment is based on pay records that include zip code or residence, and state of residence for tax purposes. The DOD does deduct state income taxes, and presumably reports this as well.

    The likely premise is that when you are in the military you are always on temporary assignment, since they can tell you to move, and you move, so you aren’t domiciled. Nonetheless, lots of military personnel end up domiciled in Texas, Florida, and Washington, all of which don’t have state income taxes.

    But since the pay information is by zip code, Hawaii has to statistically attribute it to census blocks. And dependents might not actually live in Hawaii (there are more military dependents than military in the maximum adjustment, and both are substantially greater than) than the college students.

    If you make the maximum adjustment plausible, it reduces Oahu by one senate district (18 to 17) and increases the island of Hawaii from 3 to 4.

    The reapportionment commission had all the estimates made, and knew the effect, and chose only to not count military in barracks (15,000) or so vs. 120,000 military, military dependents, and college students.

    The reapportionment commission was sued based on the Hawaii constitution, and the the Hawaii Supreme Court sided with the plaintiffs in January of this year. So the reapportionment commission redid the legislative districts, and now it has ended up in federal court.

    One issue is whether Hawaii’s constitution’s provision for use of permanent resident population violates equal protection; and then there are issues of how they actually determine how many permanent residents are, and where they actually reside.

    And there is a final issue of canoe district. A canoe district is a district that combines parts of different island groups separated by 100s of miles of international waters.

    The Hawaii constitution species an apportionment of legislators among the 4 island groups, just as US representatives are apportioned among states. The US Supreme Court has indicated that in some cases it may be OK to go beyond the 10% limit that was conventionally thought permissible, and Hawaii might be a case where that is reasonable.

    Since the case will likely be appealed to the 9th Circuit and then the US Supreme Court, I could understand a reluctance to make a temporary adjustment.

  4. Demo Rep · · Reply

    Any mail and other stuff moving between the islands in HI every day ???

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V. — even in island regimes.

  5. Demo Rep · · Reply

    Another P.R. method for islands is to have exact P.R. –

    Elect 2 or more per larger island (group).

    Each final winner would have a voting power in the legislative body equal to the final votes he/she gets.

    related matter – proxy voting in corp. stockholder meetings.

  6. Demo Rep · · Reply

    # 3 I believe that 3 judge Fed gerrymander cases go directly to SCOTUS.

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