Breyer will weigh in on isle issues
Associate Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court will be on a panel next week discussing the legal challenge to Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy giving preference to native Hawaiian applicants.
Other panelists include two key lawyers in the case - Kathleen Sullivan, who defended the private school's admissions policy, and Eric Grant, who represented the unnamed non-native Hawaiian student in the lawsuit contesting the policy.
The discussion is open to the public and will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson law school's moot court courtroom.
Breyer will be visiting here as part of the law school's "Jurist-in-Residence" program, which has brought other Supreme Court justices to Hawaii in the past years.
Breyer, 69, former chief judge of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was appointed to the high court in 1994 by President Clinton. Breyer is considered part of the liberal wing of nine-member high court.
But in the landmark 2000 decision in the Rice v. Cayetano case, Breyer joined in the 7-2 majority that struck down the requirement that only native Hawaiians could vote for trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Lawyers for the unnamed non-Hawaiian student, identified as John Doe, filed the lawsuit that dealt with the controversial issue of whether Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy violated federal civil rights law. The student was denied admission to the schools. The case is known as Doe v. Kamehameha Schools.
A three-member panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision in behalf of Doe that the policy violated the federal law. But a larger panel of the appeals court later voted 8-7 to uphold the policy.
Grant asked the Supreme Court to review the case, but the matter was settled before the high court could decide whether to accept the appeal. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
The settlement leaves open the question of whether the land's highest court would find that Kamehameha's policy violates the civil rights law.
The law school said one goal of the panel discussion is to "advance legal scholarship by analyzing how the arguments in Doe fit into a historical, sociopolitical and legal context." Another goal is to learn more about the "intricate issues" in the case from the panelists' viewpoints.
Cynthia Quinn, the law school's director of communications and external relations, said Breyer will be visiting Hawaii for the first time and also will participate in a law school class on professional responsibility.
"It's an honor to have them here," Quinn said about Breyer and other justices who visited in the past. "They really want to reach out to the students, which is quite an honor."
The topic of the discussion is "Doe v. Kamehameha Schools: A 'discreet and insular minority' in Hawaii 70 years after Carolene Products (a U.S. Supreme Court decision)." The Doe case involved a challenge to the Kamehameha Schools admissions policy that gives preference to native Hawaiians. The Carolene case involved "discreet and insular" minorities generally and native Hawaiians in particular, according to the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law.
Associate Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court will participate in the first hour of the discussion from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the moot court courtroom at the University of Hawaii law school.
Other panelists are:
» Kathleen Sullivan, former dean of Stanford Law School, who defended Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy.
» Eric Grant, a Sacramento, Calif., lawyer who represented Doe, the unnamed student who challenged the policy.
» David Forman, who teaches classes at the University of Hawaii law school and is an attorney with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.
» U.S. District Judge David Ezra.
» Jon Van Dyke, a University of Hawaii law school professor, who will moderate and present questions to the panel.
The forum is free and open to the public, but those wishing to attend should call Cynthia Quinn, the law school's director of communications and external relations, at 956-6545.