State Asks High Court to Overturn Decision Restricting Sale of Ceded Land

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- The State has asked the nation's highest court to overturn a Hawaii Supreme Court decision which held that the State cannot sell ceded lands.

On January 31, 2008, Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the Congressional Apology Resolution prohibits the State from selling, exchanging or transferring any of the more than 1.2 million acres of ceded land owned by the State until a political settlement with Native Hawaiians is reached.

The State filed a petition Tuesday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the ruling.

The petition notes that the Apology Resolution did not bar the State from selling ceded land, and that "nothing in the Resolution explicity or implicity impairs Hawaii's sovereign right to control or alienate any of the land it owns."

Attorney General Mark Bennett says the U.S. Supreme Court will decide in October if it will hear the State's appeal.

He says if it decides to hear the case, it will likely make a decision by June 2009.