In News Release on March 16, 2011 at 9:59 pm
HONOLULU—On Monday, March 14, 2011, Representative Mele Carroll introduced House Concurrent Resolution 107 calling for the establishment of a joint legislative investigating committee to investigate the status of two executive agreements entered into in 1893 between the United States President Grover Cleveland and Queen Lili‘uokalani of the Hawaiian Kingdom, called the Lili‘uokalani Assignment (January 17, 1893) and the Agreement of Restoration (December 18, 1893). The Lili‘uokalani Assignment mandates the President to administer Hawaiian Kingdom law, and the Agreement of Restoration mandates the President to restore the Hawaiian Kingdom government as it was prior to illegal landing of U.S. troops on January 16, 1893, and thereafter the Queen to grant amnesty to certain people who committed treason.
According to the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Belmont (1937), U.S. v. Pink (1942) and American Insurance Association v. Garamendi (2003), executive agreements are treaties, and as such are the Supreme Law of the Land under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Article VI, clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution provides: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all [executive agreements] made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” In Garamendi, the Supreme Court stated, “valid executive agreements are fit to preempt state law, just as treaties are,” which brings into question the laws of the State of Hawai‘i.
These executive agreements were kept from the general public for the last 113 years when the Hawaiian Islands were unilaterally annexed by Congressional action during the Spanish-American War, but was recently brought to the attention before the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., in Sai v. Clinton, et al. (case no. 10-899CKK), when a federal lawsuit was filed by Dr. Keanu Sai against Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Willard of the U.S. Pacific Command under the Alien Tort Statute for tort injuries suffered as a result of the violation of the Lili‘uokalani assignment. These executive agreements were also the subject of Dr. Sai’s political science doctoral dissertation and law journal articles, which can be accessed online at http://www2.hawaii.edu/~anu/publications.html.
On February 25, 2009, Dr. Sai gave a briefing on the legal status of Hawai‘i and the executive agreements to Colonel James Herring, Army Staff Judge Advocate, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, and his staff officers at Wheeler AAF Courthouse in Wahiawa. The presentation was titled, “American Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom: Beginning the Transition from Occupied to Restored State.”
On June 9, 2010, at the request of Gary Kurokawa, Administrator of the City & County of Honolulu Real Property Assessment Division, Dr. Sai gave a presentation on the evolution of Hawaiian land titles and the impact of the 1893 executive agreements to his staff of the Real Property Division at the Mission Memorial Auditorium in Honolulu, and on June 28, 2010, at the request of Scott Teruya, Administrator of the County of Maui Real Property Tax Division, Dr. Sai gave the same presentation to his staff at the HGEA Building in Kahului.
On November 13, 2010, the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs at their annual convention at the Sheraton Keauhou unanimously passed Resolution No. 10-15 Acknowledging Queen Lili`uokalani’s Agreements with President Grover Cleveland to Execute Hawaiian Law and to Restore the Hawaiian Government. The resolution acknowledged the Lili`uokalani Assignment and the Agreement of Restoration as binding executive agreements upon the successors in office of President Cleveland, which at the present time is President Obama.
Defense attorneys have also been using these executive agreements as grounds for dismissal in State of Hawai‘i v. Kaulia (criminal no. 09-1-352K), State of Hawai`i v. Larsen (case no. 3DTA 08-03139), State of Hawai‘i v. Larsen (case no. 3DTC 08-023156), Onewest Bank v. Tamanaha (case no. 3RC 10-1-1306), and Fukumitsu v. Fukumitsu, et al. (case no. 08-1-0843RAT). The executive agreements have also brought to light defects in current fee-simple ownership of land and the filing of title insurance claims, which has a profound impact on the mortgage industry and foreclosures here in Hawai‘i.
The purpose and duties of the joint investigating committee shall be to inquire into the status of the executive agreements by holding meetings and hearings as necessary, receiving all information from the inquiry, and submitting a final report to the Legislature. Representative Mele Carroll stated that the purpose of House Concurrent Resolution 107 is to “ensure that we, as Legislators, who took an oath to support and defend not only the Constitution of the State of Hawai‘i, but also the Constitution of the United States, must be mindful of our fiduciary duty and obligation to conform to the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution. As Majority Whip for the House of Representatives of the State of Hawai‘i, it is my duty to bring the executive agreements to the attention of the Hawai‘i State Legislature and that the joint investigating committee have the powers necessary to receive all information for its final report to the Legislature.”
Contributed by Representative Mele Carrol