A panel of three First Circuit Court Judges are expected to decide Tuesday on whether or not Gov. David Ige can be called as a witness in a case that challenges his emergency proclamation over Mauna Kea.

Ige is the sole defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. on behalf of Paul Neves, a prominent cultural practitioner who argues that the proclamation violates the constitutional rights of Native Hawaiians.

The state Attorney General’s Office, which represents Ige in the civil suit, will argue against having Ige on the witness list.

Governor David Ige during veto presser.
Three First Circuit Court judges will decide whether or not Gov. David Ige, pictured in a June press conference, may appear as a witness in a case challenging his emergency proclamation over Mauna Kea. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Last week, plaintiffs in the case won a small victory. The three-judge panel made of Judges Paul Wong, Gary Chang and Edward Kubo ruled that Neves has the right to ascend Mauna Kea to perform his cultural practice. That order did not extend to anyone else.

Ige’s emergency proclamation over Mauna Kea gave law enforcement broad powers to restrict access to the mountain, which many Native Hawaiians consider sacred.

Plaintiffs are asking the court to void Ige’s emergency order as well as declare that he is in violation of the state constitution and Hawaii’s emergency proclamation law.

Hearings on the injunction are expected to begin Thursday morning.

Ige’s emergency proclamation is set to expire Friday night if he does not extend it.

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