Holt v. Richardson

Decision Date17 February 1965
Docket NumberCiv. No. 2308.
Citation238 F. Supp. 468
PartiesHenrietta Davidson HOLT et al., Plaintiffs, v. William S. RICHARDSON, Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, Defendant, John J. Hulten et al., Members of the Legislature of the State of Hawaii, and John A. Burns, Governor of Hawaii, Intervenors-Plaintiffs, Nelson K. Doi et al., Members of the Senate, Second Legislature, State of Hawaii, Intervenors-Defendants, Edward F. Cravalho et al., Members of the House of Representatives, Second Legislature, State of Hawaii, Intervenors-Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Hawaii

Charles M. Tonaki, Barry J. Rubin, Masaji Marumoto, Honolulu, Hawaii, for plaintiff.

Heen, Kai and Dodge, Robert G. Dodge, Honolulu, Hawaii, for defendant.

Bert T. Kobayashi, Atty. Gen. of Hawaii, Bertram T. Kanbara, Nobuki Kamida, Deputy Attys. Gen., Honolulu, Hawaii, for intervenors-plaintiffs.

Robertson, Castle & Anthony, Frank D. Padgett, James T. Funaki, Honolulu, Hawaii, for certain intervenors-defendants.

Before JERTBERG, Circuit Judge and BEEKS and PENCE, District Judges.

On August 13, 1964, the plaintiffs, citizens and residents of the State of Hawaii and qualified voters in their respective senatorial and representative districts, on their own behalf and as a class action on behalf of all other citizens, residents and voters in the State of Hawaii similarly situated, filed this complaint against William S. Richardson, Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii (he being responsible for the supervision of elections), seeking to enjoin Richardson from performing any duties relating to the nomination and election of candidates for State legislative offices unless the State legislature enacted a valid reapportionment plan for use in the 1964 elections, praying that this court should in any event make certain that the 1966 election would be conducted under an apportionment plan that would meet the requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Plaintiffs alleged that the Constitution of the State of Hawaii apportioned the senate on the basis of geography and not population, and the house of representatives on the basis of registered voters and not population, and thus the State's scheme of apportionment was unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment, in the light of Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 84 S.Ct. 1362, 12 L. Ed.2d 506 (1964), and its companion cases of the same date: Maryland Committee for Fair Representation v. Tawes, 377 U.S. 656, 84 S.Ct. 1429, 12 L.Ed.2d 595; Lucas v. Forty-Fourth General Assembly of State of Colorado, 377 U.S. 713, 84 S.Ct. 1459, 12 L.Ed.2d 632; Davis v. Mann, 377 U.S. 678, 84 S.Ct. 1441, 12 L.Ed.2d 609; WMCA v. Lomenzo, 377 U.S. 633, 84 S.Ct. 1418, 12 L.Ed.2d 568 and Roman v. Sincock, 377 U.S. 695, 84 S.Ct. 1449, 12 L.Ed.2d 620.

The Governor of the State, as well as all state legislators, both senators and representatives, filed their appearance as either intervening plaintiffs or defendants. (After the 1964 elections, all but one of the newly elected legislators likewise filed their appearance.)

A three-judge district court thereafter convened, found that it had jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2281 et seq., as well as under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1988, and the court, after full hearing, on August 26, 1964, because of the imminence of the 1964 elections and the disruptive effects which an injunction would have had thereon, and because the State legislature at that date was convened in special session for the specific purpose of considering the problems of reapportionment, denied the motion for a preliminary injunction and set a hearing on the merits for January 11, 1965. (Cf. Roman v. Sincock, supra.) The legislature failed to agree on any reapportionment plan, and this decision follows the January hearing.

The Constitution of the State of Hawaii, after being hammered out at a Constitutional Convention composed of non-partisan delegates elected from all parts of the Territory, was adopted July 22, 1950, to become effective immediately upon the admission of Hawaii into the Union as a state. Hawaii was so admitted on August 21, 1959. The Constitution prescribes a senate of 25 members, obviously and admittedly apportioned basically upon the geographical and political divisions of the State, and 51 representatives apportioned as hereinafter described.

Hawaii is unique in many respects. It is the only state that has been successively an absolute monarchy, a constitutional monarchy, a republic, and then a territory of the United States before its admission as a state. Because each was insulated from the other by wide channels and high seas (C. A. B. v. Island Airlines, D.C., 235 F.Supp. 990 (October 8, 1964)) and historically ruled first by chiefs and then royal governors, after annexation the seven major, inhabited islands of the State were divided up into the four counties of Kauai, Maui, Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu.1 All this resulted in a strongly centralized form of government.

By 1950 Honolulu, the State capital, had by far the largest population of any county, an essentially urban population, and had become an industrial, manufacturing, military and tourist center. The other three counties remained essentially rural and primarily concerned with agriculture and ranching. With the State having complete control over the judiciary, taxation, education, public health and welfare, etc., it was normal therefore that the three more rural counties of Kauai, Maui and Hawaii would not wish to leave such centralized power, particularly control over the State's purse strings, with urban Honolulu.

Patterning itself after the makeup of the United States Congress, Article III, Section 2 of the State Constitution apportioned the 25-member senate on a basis which enabled the senators of the three counties outside of Honolulu to have numerical control over that body. This was deliberately done in order to preserve the then nationally approved concept of checks and balances between rural and urban populations.

By Article III, Section 4, the house of representatives was apportioned under "the method of equal proportions," i. e., the same method as used in apportioning the members of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress,2 giving the representatives from the County of Honolulu, with its larger population, potential control of the house. Both single and multi-member representative districts were set up throughout the State.

Under this same Section 4, using the method of equal proportions, the State legislators were apportioned among the four "basic areas", viz., the four counties, on the basis of the number of voters registered at the last preceding general election, and within the counties each representative district had its representation determined by the same method.

Under this same Section 4, the governor was mandated to reapportion the members of the house of representatives on or before June 1 of the year 1959, and at successive 10-year intervals thereafter. On May 1, 1959 (pursuant to Public Law 895, 84th Congress, 2nd Session, 70 Stat. 903), the Governor of Hawaii did reapportion the State in the above manner, and such reapportionment transferred increasing control to Honolulu.3

All parties before this court conceded (as was also determined by the Supreme Court of Hawaii in Guntert v. Richardson, 47 Hawaii ___, 394 P.2d 444 (July 27, 1964)) that Article III, Section 2, relating to the composition and apportionment of the State senate is indisputably invalid under Reynolds v. Sims, supra.

From the inception therefore, it was obvious that Hawaii's Constitution must be amended, at least to provide for a valid apportionment of its senate. In connection with any constitutional reapportionment of the senate, it must be noted that Article XV (Revision and Amendment), Section 2, para. 6, contains the following proviso:

"* * * provided, that no constitutional amendment altering this proviso or the representation from any senatorial district in the senate shall become effective unless it shall also be approved by a majority of the votes tallied upon the question in each of a majority of the counties."

As appears in the Proceedings, pp. 761-64, this proviso was specifically inserted in order to freeze representation in the senate, and it gave to the rural counties what amounted to the right of veto over any attempt to change the representative makeup of the senate. This proviso is so closely tied in with the admittedly invalid scheme of senatorial apportionment that it, too, is likewise constitutionally invalid and falls along with Article III, Section 2.

Plaintiffs urge that Article III, Sections 3 and 4, relating to apportionment of the house, are likewise invalid because they are a part of the total scheme of legislative apportionment, inferring that the house would not have been apportioned as it was but for the senate being apportioned as a built-in check in setting up the "checks and balance" scheme of the United States Congress.

This Court finds that this is not necessarily true. Apart from one problem discussed immediately below, nothing has been called to our attention and we find no evidence — not even in the Proceedings — that the Constitutional Convention would have apportioned the house in any other way than it did.4

Plaintiffs urge that in any event, the house of representatives is unconstitutionally apportioned because apportionment thereof is based upon the number of voters registered at the last preceding general election (Art. III, Sec. 4), and not upon a gross, i. e., total population basis.

Article II, Sections 1 and 2, covering suffrage and elections, provides, in substance, that every literate United States Citizen who is compos mentis and not an unpardoned felon, 20 years old or more, residing in the State not less than one year next preceding the election, and a registered voter, shall be...

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17 cases
  • Curtis v. Board of Supervisors
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • September 19, 1972
    ...held invalid a provision requiring a two-thirds favorable vote in each county to amend the New Mexico Constitution. In Holt v. Richardson (D.Hawaii 1965) 238 F.Supp. 468 the court struck down a provision of the Hawaii Constitution which required a separate majority of the votes in each of a......
  • Calderon v. City of Los Angeles
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • March 2, 1971
    ...that Burns applies to councilmaniac apportionment. The City relies on two federal district court decisions, Holt v. Richardson (D. Hawaii 1965) 238 F.Supp. 468, and Buckley v. Hoff (D.Vt.1965) 243 F.Supp. 873 to support its contention that the equal protection clause permits the use of a re......
  • Kostick v. Nago
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Hawaii
    • July 11, 2013
    ...of the State were divided up into the four counties of Kauai, Maui, Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu.Holt v. Richardson, 238 F.Supp. 468, 470–71 (D.Haw.1965) (internal citation omitted), vacated by Burns, 384 U.S. 73, 86 S.Ct. 1286. Likewise, at the 1968 Hawaii Constitutional Conv......
  • Wise v. Lipscomb
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 22, 1978
    ...to be designed to freeze existing unconstitutional apportionments and had thus been held unconstitutional in its own right. 238 F.Supp. 468, 472 (Haw.1965). Here, by contrast, there was a lawful mechanism available for modifying the apportionment under the Dallas City Charter: the drafting ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • The Petition Clause and the Constitutional Mandate of Total-Population Apportionment.
    • United States
    • Stanford Law Review Vol. 75 No. 2, February 2023
    • February 1, 2023
    ...bona fide resident of the state. It is not referring to U.S. citizenship. See Bradley, supra note 47, at 12. (136.) Holt v. Richardson, 238 F. Supp. 468, 475 (D. Haw. 1965). (137.) Id. at 474. (138.) Id. at 475. (139.) See Bradley, supra note 47, at 9-10. (140.) Burns, 384 U.S. at 94-95. (1......

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