Holt v. Richardson

Decision Date23 April 1965
Docket NumberCiv. No. 2308.
Citation240 F. Supp. 724
PartiesHenrietta Davidson HOLT et al., Plaintiffs, v. William S. RICHARDSON, Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, Defendant, John J. Hulten et al., and John A. Burns, Governor of Hawaii, Intervenors-Plaintiffs, Nelson K. Doi et al., and Elmer F. Cravalho et al., Intervenors-Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Hawaii

Charles M. Tonaki, Barry J. Rubin, Honolulu, Hawaii, Masaji Marumoto, Assoc. Counsel, Honolulu, Hawaii, for plaintiffs.

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

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

James T. Funaki, Honolulu, Hawaii, Robert Kimura, Honolulu, Hawaii, for intervenors-defendants.

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


This court has now before it the Hawaii State Legislature's H.B.No.987, S.D. 1, C.D. 1; H.B.No.773, S.D. 1, C.D. 1; and H.B.No.986, setting forth that body's response to this court's order of March 9, 1965, viz., presenting (a) a plan for the provisional reapportionment of the Senate on the basis of the voters registered for the 1964 general election; (b) a proposed constitutional amendment encompassing the same plan; and (c) a submission to the electorate in 1966 of the question of calling a constitutional convention.

The road by which the above bills reached this court is tortuous. In August of 1964, when this court first heard this case, the Legislature of Hawaii was then sitting in special session called by the Governor of Hawaii for the specific purpose of attempting to devise a scheme of legislative reapportionment which would be constitutionally valid. The legislature at that session failed to agree on any reapportionment plan. After a hearing in January 1965, this court, on February 17, 1965, 238 F.Supp. 468, found that Article III, Section 2, of the Hawaii State Constitution fixing the number of senators per senatorial district, as well as the proviso at the end of the sixth paragraph in Section 2 of Article XV of the constitution, were invalid, "determined that the Senate at least must be reapportioned before the 1966 general election," and enjoined the Third State Legislature in its regular 1965 session from passing any but preliminary "housekeeping" acts until it had set up the machinery for the convening of a constitutional convention to amend the State's legislative scheme of apportionment before the 1966 election. (Emphasis added.)

On March 1st, 1965, the legislature, then convened in regular session, requested this court to alter its order of February 17th so as to permit the legislature itself during that session to pass legislation:

(a) enacting a provisional plan for reapportioning the senate on the basis of the 1964 registered voters, to be effective for the 1966 election and until a constitutional amendment on reapportionment had been adopted by the people of Hawaii as provided in the constitution;

(b) adopting a proposed constitutional amendment embodying pertinent provisions of the foregoing reapportionment plan to be presented to the electorate for ratification at the 1966 general election; and

(c) submitting to the electorate at that 1966 election the question, under Article XV of the State constitution: Shall there be a convention to propose a revision of or amendments to the constitution?

Counsel for all parties to the suit were in accord with the objectives outlined in the motion, and this court was satisfied from the representations made that the constitutional convention route prescribed by its February 17th order would be very expensive and perforce would demand the devotion of great time and effort from the people of Hawaii. The court, then, also believed that the legislators, each and all, would recognize their obligations to the entire electorate of Hawaii, would rise above any possible self-interest, would heed the admonitions of the Attorney General, and would certainly note the flashing red lights of the caveats set out in this court's order of February 17th, viz., that a constitutional convention in addition to providing for reapportionment of the senate might also consider (1) whether the registered voter population should continue to be used as the basis for apportionment, or some other type of population basis should be adopted; (2) "whether it is better to have one or both houses of the legislature composed of single member representative districts, or to have and justify9 one or both houses composed in whole or in part, of multi-member or floterial districts. (Note)9 Butcher v. Bloom, 415 Pa. 438, 203 A.2d 556, 572-573" (emphasis added); (3) whether there should be a change in the date of decennial reapportionment; and (4) whether there should be redistricting of the representative districts.

This court therefore, by order of March 9, 1965, altered its February 17th order to permit the legislature (a) to enact a provisional reapportionment and redistricting plan for the senate; (b) to adopt "a proposed constitutional amendment embodying pertinent provisions of the foregoing reapportionment and redistricting plan" for submission to the electorate at the 1966 general election (emphasis added); (c) to enact legislation to submit to the electorate the question: Shall there be a convention to propose a revision of or amendments to the constitution? This order, like the one of February 17th, demanded that the plan be approved by this court; failing approval, the order of February 17th demanding legislation for implementing a constitutional convention would again become effective.

On March 18th this court was advised that a provisional plan, in substance approved by both houses, was then in conference committee and about ready to be presented to this court, whereby the senate was reapportioned by dividing the State into the same original six senatorial districts, changing only the number of senators allocated to each district, based upon the use of the method of equal proportion. By that March 18th plan, two senators were apportioned to the first senatorial district — East Hawaii; one to the second — West Hawaii; two to the third — Maui; nine to the fourth — Southern Oahu; ten to the fifth — the remainder of Oahu; and one to the sixth — Kauai.

The legislature quickly thereafter was informally made to understand that such a grossly lumpy apportionment of senators, whereby forty per cent of the entire senate would come from one senatorial district and thirty-six per cent from another alongside, could never be approved, and the plan was forthwith withdrawn from conference committee for reconsideration by the house of representatives. Shortly thereafter, this court flashed an even brighter red light on its caveat number (2) above by informally indicating that because Hawaii had a multi-member district house, any other than single member senatorial districting would have to be justified to this court.

On April 14th, 1965, the legislature passed and sent to this court the numbered bills identified supra:

A. H.B. 987, its proposed provisional senatorial reapportionment plan; H.B. 773, its proposed constitutional amendment embodying that same plan; and H. B. 986, submitting to the electorate in the 1966 general election the question of the calling of a constitutional convention. By H.B. 987, the State was divided into eight senatorial districts, viz.:

                                                          1964 Registered
                               Senatorial     No. of        Voters per
                    County      District    Senators         District
                    Hawaii       First          3             28,130
                    Maui         Second         2             18,786
                    Honolulu     Third          3             27,073
                        "        Fourth         4             35,780
                        "        Fifth          4             39,361
                        "        Sixth          4             40,629
                        "        Seventh        4             37,336
                    Kauai        Eighth         1             12,266

B. Exhibits A and B, attached to the plan, the same being the reports of the conference committee on the proposed provisional plan (H.B. 987), as well as the proposed plan for the constitutional amendment (H.B. 773) embodying the same, setting forth the conference committee's "justification" for wholly abandoning any attempt to redistrict the senate on a single member district basis.

Senate exhibits Nos. 5 and 6 (maps also filed), outlined the geographical boundaries of the respective senatorial districts of Honolulu.

The court would agree that the number of registered voters per senatorial district and apportioned to the four basic areas, viz., three to the County of Hawaii, two to the County of Maui, nineteen to the City and County of Honolulu, and one to the County of Kauai, conforms to the standards required under the method of equal proportions prescribed by the Constitution of the State of Hawaii and thus meets that one test of constitutionality. Roman v. Sincock, 377 U.S. 695, 84 S.Ct. 1449, 12 L.Ed.2d 620 (1964); Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 84 S.Ct. 1362, 12 L.Ed.2d 506 (1964).

In the attached committee reports, the reasons given, i. e., "justification", for choosing multi-member districts of three and four senators per district were substantially: (1) single-member districts would tend to cause the senators therefrom to be concerned with localized issues and ignore the broader issues facing the State, and therefore it might fragment the approach to state-wide problems and programs to the detriment of the State; (2) historically the members of the house had represented smaller constituencies than members of the senate, and tradition and experience had proved that balance desirable; (3) multi-member districts would increase the significance of an individual's vote by focusing his attention on the broad spectrum of major community problems as opposed to...

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5 cases
  • Sims v. Baggett
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Alabama
    • October 2, 1965
    ...L.Ed.2d 663 (1962). With Fortson v. Dorsey, 379 U.S. 433, at 439, 85 S.Ct. 498, at 501, 13 L.Ed.2d 401 (1965), and Holt v. Richardson, 240 F.Supp. 724, at 730 (D.Hawaii 1965) compare WMCA, Inc. v. Lomenzo, 238 F.Supp. 916, at 925-927 (S.D.N.Y. 1965) aff'd 86 S.Ct. 24 (1965), especially conc......
  • Travis v. King
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Hawaii
    • October 13, 1982
    ...1 Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 82 S.Ct. 691, 7 L.Ed.2d 663 (1962). 2 Holt v. Richardson, 238 F.Supp. 468 (D.Haw. 1965) and 240 F.Supp. 724 (1965), and same case sub nom. Burns v. Richardson, 384 U.S. 73, 86 S.Ct. 1286, 16 L.Ed.2d 376 (1966) (challenging the 1959 state legislative reapportio......
  • Baker v. Carr
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Tennessee
    • November 15, 1965
    ... ... 598, 13 L.Ed.2d 527 ... (Jan. 18, 1965), and 241 F.Supp. 65 (N.D.Ga., ... April 1, 1965) ... HAWAII: Holt v. Richardson, 238 F.Supp. 468 (D.C.Hawaii, ... Feb. 17, 1965); 240 F.Supp. 724 (D.C.Hawaii, ... April 23, 1965), on ... ...
  • Burns v. Gill, Civ. No. 2308.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Hawaii
    • July 8, 1970
    ...history of Hawaii's reapportionment problems is fully set forth in Holt v. Richardson, 238 F.Supp. 468 (D.Hawaii 1965), and Id., 240 F.Supp. 724 (D.Hawaii 1965), and the same case, sub nom. Burns v. Richardson, 384 U.S. 73, 86 S.Ct. 1286, 16 L.Ed.2d 376 Pursuant to the April 25, 1966 Order ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • The multimember district: a study of the multimember district and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
    • United States
    • Albany Law Review Vol. 66 No. 1, September 2002
    • September 22, 2002
    ...(47) 384 U.S. 73 (1966). (48) See id. at 86 (stating that the Hawaii scheme fell within federal standards). (49) See Holt v. Richardson, 240 F. Supp. 724, 730 (D. Haw. 1965) (finding the interim reapportionment plan unconstitutional because it failed to take into account the totality of cir......

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