Akaka Bill Debate Online Debate
Proposed by U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), the Akaka Bill, also known as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007, seeks to establish a process for Native Hawaiians to gain federal recognition similar to the recognition that some Native American tribes currently possess.
A panel of experts including President & General Counsel at the Center for Equal Opportunity, Roger Clegg, University of Hawaii Law School Professor, Jon M. Van Dyke, San Diego law professor Gail Heriot, and Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, Davianna McGregor comment on the legal and policy issues raised by this measure.
Here is a useful list of references:
Text of the Akaka Bill: Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act
Rice v Cayetano (2000) International & National Security Law and Litigation Practice Groups Podcast
The Supreme Court decided a complex but important case on June 16, 2014, Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital, Limited. The Republic of Argentina issued bonds to American investors, correspondingly waiving its sovereign immunity and consenting to jurisdiction in New York State. Argentina subsequently defaulted on those bonds. Plaintiff bondholder NML did not participate in a renegotiation of the bonds and sued to prevent Argentina from paying other bondholders that agreed to settle their claims.
At issue were whether NML Capital could bring suit against Argentina under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and the extent of discovery to which plaintiffs are entitled. In court, the United States sided with Argentina. Argentina asserted it should be able to block third party disclosure of its assets, since some assets might be sensitive diplomatic or military assets. The Supreme Court ruled, 7-1, that Argentina is subject to the FSIA, and thus liable to suit pursuant to it, and that American banks can be ordered to disclose Argentina’s assets in the U.S. as part of discovery in the default lawsuit. This decision has potential ramifications for government debt restructuring around the world. Our experts examined these and other possible effects of the decision.
SCOTUScast 04-06-12 featuring Elizabeth Foley
- Prof. Michael D. Ramsey, Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation Professor of Law, Director, International & Comparative Law Programs, University of San Diego School of Law
- Prof. Thomas H. Lee, Leitner Family Professor of International Law, Director Graduate and International Studies, Fordham University School of Law
On March 20, 2012, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals. The question here was whether Congress, in passing the “self-care” provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act, validly abrogated the sovereign immunity of states. Under the self-care provision, a state worker may sue if the state interferes with the worker’s statutory right to a certain amount of leave due to a personal, debilitating health condition. Here, the lower courts had dismissed such a lawsuit.
By a vote of 5-4 the Court affirmed the judgment of the lower courts, but did so without a majority opinion. Justice Kennedy, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas and Alito, filed a plurality opinion concluding that sovereign immunity barred the state worker’s suit. Justice Thomas also filed a separate concurring opinion. Justice Scalia filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, but relying upon a different rationale than the plurality. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice Breyer joined, and in which Justices Sotomayor and Kagan joined as to all except footnote one.
To discuss the case, we have Elizabeth Price Foley, who is a Professor at the Florida International University College of Law.