[guest post by Dana]
Another new regulatory end-run around Congress?
President Barack Obama’s administration has quietly suggested it is willing to create a two-tier race-based legal system in Hawaii, where one set of taxes, spending and law enforcement will govern one race, and the second set of laws will govern every other race.
The diversity proposal is portrayed as an effort to create a separate in-state government for people who are “native Hawaiians.”
The presentation of this proposal is contained in a document referred to as the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
“The Secretary of the Interior is considering whether to propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community,” said the document.
To what end?
“to more effectively implement the special political and trust relationship that Congress has established between that [Hawaiian] community and the United States.”
Gail Heriot, a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is concerned about the balkanization of the state as a result,
If Obama succeeds, “what’s to prevent creating similar [self-governing racial] groups out of say, Cajuns, or Orthodox Jews or Amish?” “If you can do that with groups that are already part of the mainstream, you can balkanize the country,” said Heriot, who is a law professor at the University of San Diego.
But the proposed measure to increase legal diversity is illegal because the president doesn’t have the power to grant one group of Americans the status of a separate government, she said.
“There is no constitutional basis for conferring such status, and Congress has repeatedly refused to confer this status,” said Carissa Mulder, a spokeswoman for two members of the federal Commission on Civil Rights.
“This seems to be yet another case of the Obama administration ignoring the law to achieve its policy objectives,” she added
Who benefits and how?
The move is likely intended to protect lucrative financial set-asides for Americans who are also part of the Hawaiian racial group, said Heriot.
These set-aside, which include cheap loans, are being threatened by the Supreme Court’s move to curb racial divisions and imposed racial diversity. In 2000, for example, the court’s Rice vs. Cayetano decision allowed non-Hawaiians to participate in the election of trustees for the state’s wealthy Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
The office holds a large tract of land in Hawaii under a legal trust, which generates revenue that is distributed to racial Hawaiians.