HONOLULU – Today the Hawaii Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Hussey v. Say that the state House of Representatives is the only body that can decide whether State Representative Calvin Say satisfies the constitutional residency requirements of a sitting member. Representative Say has served State House District 20 (St. Louis Heights, Palolo, Maunalani Heights, Wilhelmina Rise, Kaimuki) since 1976. In December 2012 a petition alleged that Representative Say actually lives in a different district and was therefore not qualified to hold office for District 20. The House of Representatives convened a proceeding and ruled that Representative Say meets the residency requirements.
The Court held that Representative Say’s residency for purposes of representing his district is a question to be resolved only by the House – not by the judiciary. The Court also ruled that the Attorney General was not prohibited from representing the House of Representatives, the prevailing party in this case.
Attorney General Doug Chin said, “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court ends the challenge regarding Representative Say’s residency. This ruling respects the doctrine of separation of powers between the three branches of state government.”
In ruling that “the House of Representatives has exclusive jurisdiction to decide whether [Representative] Say satisfied the constitutional residency requirements of a sitting House member,” the court noted that it is one of three coequal branches of government and that the doctrine at issue in this case is meant to “assure that the courts not intrude into areas committed to the other branches of government.”
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For more information, contact:
Joshua A. Wisch
Special Assistant to the Attorney General