An Act to Provide for the Admission of the State of Hawaii

into the Union


(Act of March 18, 1959, Pub L 86-3, 73 Stat 4)


     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, subject to the provisions of this Act, and upon issuance of the proclamation required by section 7(c) of this Act, the State of Hawaii is hereby declared to be a State of the United States of America, is declared admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the other States in all respects whatever, and the constitution formed pursuant to the provisions of the Act of the Territorial Legislature of Hawaii entitled "An Act to provide for a constitutional convention, the adoption of a State constitution, and the forwarding of the same to the Congress of the United States, and appropriating money therefor", approved May 20, 1949 (Act 334, Session Laws of Hawaii, 1949), and adopted by a vote of the people of Hawaii in the election held on November 7, 1950, is hereby found to be republican in form and in conformity with the Constitution of the United States and the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and is hereby accepted, ratified, and confirmed.


Attorney General Opinions


  Allows State to sell, alienate, or otherwise dispose of ceded lands; 1978 constitutional amendments did not alter State's authority.  Att. Gen. Op. 95-3.

  Allocating royalties from geothermal developments on department of Hawaiian home lands (DHHL) lands to the board of land and natural resources or the counties violated §4 of the Admission Act and article XII, §§1 and 3 of the Hawaii constitution.  It is clear from the Admission Act and the Hawaii constitution that the State has an obligation to manage such resources on Hawaiian home lands for the benefit of native Hawaiians pursuant to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA).  Allocation of royalties from geothermal developments on DHHL lands to entities other than DHHL would be violations of both the Admission Act and the Hawaii constitution because those proceeds would not be available to DHHL to carry out the terms and conditions of the HHCA.  Att. Gen. Op. 14-1.

  The department of Hawaiian home lands' authority to manage and dispose of geothermal resources on its lands, which stems from the Admission Act, the Hawaii constitution, and the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, does not run afoul of the public trust doctrine.  Att. Gen. Op. 14-1.


Law Journals and Reviews


  Ke Ala Pono--The Path of Justice:  The Moon Court's Native Hawaiian Rights Decisions.  33 UH L. Rev. 447 (2011).

  Demolition of Native Rights and Self Determination:  Act 55's Devastating Impact through the Development of Hawaii's Public Lands.  35 UH L. Rev. 297 (2013).

  A Collective Memory of Injustice:  Reclaiming Hawai`i's Crown Lands Trust in Response to Judge James S. Burns.  39 UH L. Rev. 481 (2017).

  (Re)Righting History:  Deconstructing the Court's Narrative of Hawai`i's Past.  39 UH L. Rev. 631 (2017).


Case Notes


  Apology Resolution reveals no indication that Congress intended to amend or repeal the State's rights and obligations under the Admission Act.  556 U.S. 163 (2009).

  Hawaii not denied "equal footing" by reason of C.A.B. control over interisland air transportation.  363 F.2d 120.

  Created a federal right enforceable under 42 U.S.C. §1983.  739 F.2d 1467.

  Admission Act is a federal public trust, creating a federally enforceable right for beneficiaries to maintain action against trustees; plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. §1983 action thus proper.  3 F.3d 1220.

  There is no positive command in this Act for the United States to bring a breach of trust action against the Hawaiian homes commission or its members.  824 F. Supp. 1480.

  Where plaintiffs alleged, inter alia, state defendants breached their trust responsibilities under this Act, claims against State or its agencies or departments, and defendants in official capacities barred by Eleventh Amendment; state defendants sued in personal capacities were entitled to qualified immunity.  824 F. Supp. 1480.

  "Equal footing", referred to:  44 H. 634, 642, 361 P.2d 390.

  Association that included native Hawaiian beneficiaries asserted viable claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983 alleging breach of trust duties by appellees under Hawaiian Homes Commission Act via Admission Act.  78 H. 192, 891 P.2d 279.