House To Vote Tomorrow on Akaka Bill
The Washington Times reports today that the House is expected to vote tomorrow on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, also known as the Akaka bill (after its Senate sponsor). As NR readers will recall—the bill has been decried here by the editors, Ramesh, Peter Kirsanow, yours truly, and others—it would create a new “Indian tribe” made up of anyone with a drop of Native Hawaiian blood. The idea is to end-run a Supreme Court decision that said—quite rightly—that preferences for Native Hawaiians are ethnic preferences and therefore presumptively unconstitutional; now, presto!, they will no longer be an ethnic group but an Indian tribe, and discrimination in their favor will be perfectly fine.
The bill is unconstitutional, and it is also ugly, divisive, and balkanizing—for Hawaii, of course, but for the whole country as well, particularly in light of the precedent it sets. The Bush administration issued a statement strongly opposing the bill yesterday. Anyone who votes for it will have a lot to answer for.