Government De Jure

Preserved in law by our ancestors.
Perfecting itself for our descendants.

Whereas the Kingdom of Hawai’i, having been in exile for one-hundred seven years due to an unlawful overthrow of its government de jure, has exercised perfect right to reestablish its proper station as an independent nation within the community of nations.
—The Preamble of the Hawaiian Constitution of 2000.

Revising the Constitution

On January 15, 2000, the elected legislature of the Kingdom of Hawai’i convened for the first time in 107 years in Anahola, a community on the island of Kaua’i. The legislators of the temporary government vacated their offices and witnessed the swearing-in of their elected successors.

The objective of this convention was to retrieve the nation’s constitution from suspension and update it for the twenty-first century.  Last amended in 1887, the Hawaiian Kingdom Constitution consisted of eighty-two articles which described the functions and powers of the monarch, the parliament and the courts of record; as well as the natural, political and civil laws enjoyed by the citizenry. Consolidating the 82 articles into ten articles of related subject matter, a draft constitution was adopted. The legislators were responsible for distributing copies of the draft to the citizens for their review and input. Before recessing, the legislature agreed to reconvene at a constitutional convention on March 10, 11 & 12, 2000 in Waimea, a town on the big island of Hawai’i.

In preparing for this constitutional convention, a protocol was followed that allowed the individual citizen to submit draft legislation for consideration at three successive levels: first, review within the district; then, review amongst all districts of the island; and finally, review by the entire legislature. A deadline for submitting amendments was set, copies of the amendments from those islands that met the deadline were made, and each legislator received their copies upon arriving at the convention.

The legislature spent the entire convention examining and re-examining the draft constitution and every submitted amendment.  After much debate, a constitution with language satisfactory to the legislature was agreed upon. Among the features introduced into the constitution were:

  • Making the Office of the Monarch ceremonial, with the monarch serving as a national symbol
  • Establishing an Office of the Prime Minister
  • Allowing the citizens—rather than the legislature—to elect the Prime Minister
  • Inserting direct democracy into the legislative procedure of passing laws of the land
  • Extending the right to vote to women
  • Extending the right to vote to individual citizens who are not landowners
  • Removing the monarch’s Privy Council, but retaining the Executive Cabinet Ministers
  • Reserving the right to retrieve the Kingdom’s public laws placed into suspension 107 years ago
  • Formally naming the legislature the Mana Kau Kanawai (“the body empowered to make laws”)
  • Referring to the nation as “Hawai’i”
  • Reserving the ability to introduce and ratify additional amendments to the constitution

Copies of this final draft were supplied to each legislator for distribution to the citizens. The ratification of this constitution would not be done solely by the Legislature. It was agreed that the Amended Hawaiian Constitution of 2000 would be ratified by the citizens in a plebescite vote. On Saturday, April 29, 2000, the Ratification Vote of 2000 was held in every district of the Hawaiian Islands.

A winning majority needs two-thirds of the total number of voting districts. That would currently require no less than sixteen districts.

The Amended Hawaiian Constitution of 2000 was passed with a majority of twenty districts in favor of ratification and four districts against.  With an approved constitution, the people of the nation known as Hawai’i are now in the process of fulfilling the laws within it. The first priority was to complete the other two branches of government.

Applications to the Office of the Prime Minister were considered. All applicants to the office were required to appear before a review committee established by the legislature to determine if they met the necessary qualifications. One person emerged with the confidence of the committee. The findings of the committee were forwarded to the full legislature.

On June 17, 2000, the legislature declared the uncontested winner and swore him in as the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Hawai’i. On July 23, 2000, the Prime Minister appointed individuals to his Executive Cabinet.

The process of fulfilling the laws of the Hawaiian Constitution continues.

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