State Rep. Calvin Say’s legal battles over his residency appear to have been settled.
The Hawaii Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled in Hussey v. Say that the state House of Representatives “is the only body” that can decide whether the speaker emeritus satisfies the constitutional residency requirements of a sitting member.
Say has served District 20 (St. Louis Heights, Palolo, Maunalani Heights, Wilhelmina Rise, Kaimuki) since 1976.
In December 2012 a petition alleged that Say actually lives in a different district and so was not qualified to hold office for District 20. There have been several legal challenges from residents of the district.
The House of Representatives later determined that Say did indeed meet residency requirements.
Thursday’s court ruling, according to a press release from the state attorney general, ruled that residency questions can only be resolved by the House and not the judiciary.
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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