Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Boy’s lawyers
seek case transfer

Kamehameha Schools is fighting
legal efforts to allow the student
to be admitted immediately

The lawyers for the boy who is challenging Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiians-only admission policy filed another court motion yesterday to force Kamehameha to admit the non-Hawaiian 12th-grader before classes start next week.

John Doe v. Kamehameha Schools/Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate
(PDF, 208K)
Eric Grant, the Sacramento, Calif., attorney who represents the student known only as "John Doe," requested that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals transfer the boy's case back to U.S. District Court in Honolulu immediately so he can ask Judge Alan Kay to compel Kamehameha officials to accept the student.

Yesterday's motion is Grant's third try at forcing the school to immediately admit the boy after a panel of 9th Circuit judges ruled, 2-to-1, last week that Kamehameha's admission policy violates federal anti-discrimination laws because it is "an absolute bar" for non-Hawaiians.

An expected Kamehameha appeal will put that decision on hold, meaning the boy, who is entering his last year of high school, would not be allowed to attend the school this month.

After the appeals court panel ruling last week, Grant asked the school's trustees to allow the student to attend, but they unanimously turned him down. Also last week, Grant filed an injunction with the 9th Circuit asking it to compel Kamehameha to admit the boy. On Monday, the 9th Circuit denied that request.

Legal experts say the court likely rejected the injunction believing that the U.S. District Court in Hawaii, which heard the original case before Kay, has proper jurisdiction over such a specific request.

Grant filed yesterday's motion hoping to get his request heard in Hawaii as soon as possible.

"I hope our request will be granted," said Grant, acknowledging, "I don't have an alternative plan right now."

Kekoa Paulsen, a spokes-man for Kamehameha, said, "This is highly unusual and would be extremely unfair."

"The court is being asked to set aside the normal rules of judicial process for a single client," Paulsen said. "The court is being asked to enforce the ruling overturning our policy without first allowing Kamehameha Schools our right to have the case reheard."

The school is expected to file a petition within the next week or so asking the 9th Circuit for a so-called "en banc" rehearing of the case. If a majority of the 28 judges sitting on that court votes in favor of Kamehameha's request, then an 11-judge panel will review the case and hold hearings.

Such en banc requests are rarely granted and the process, if granted, is likely to take a year. The school could also appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kamehameha Schools

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