HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court is blocking votes from being counted in a unique election that’s considered a major step toward self-governance for Native Hawaiians.
The high court on Wednesday granted an injunction requested by a group of Native Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians challenging the election. They argue Hawaii residents who don’t have Native Hawaiian ancestry are being excluded from the vote, in violation of their constitutional rights.
The order blocks the counting of votes until at least the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issues its ruling on the lawsuit challenging the election.
The court’s four liberal justices say they would have allowed votes to be counted pending the appeal.
A justice’s ruling last week blocking the vote count prompted election leaders to extend voting to Dec. 21.
The application for injunction pending appellate review presented to Justice Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is granted. Respondents are enjoined from counting the ballots cast in, and certifying the winners of, the election described in the application, pending final disposition of the appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Kagan would deny the application.