A full federal appeals court has declined to rehear a case over a lawsuit challenging a Hawaii private school’s policy of serving only native Hawaiian students. The action prompted harsh dissents from judges who said the policy’s challengers should be able to proceed in court anonymously.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, on Monday refused to disturb a panel decision that said the four challengers to the restrictive admissions policy of the Kamehameha Schools could not remain anonymous. Lawyers for the challenger have said the students faced threats for suing over the admission policy.
The Kamehameha Schools is a multi-campus private school whose policy of admitting only native Hawaiians has faced numerous lawsuits. Native Hawaiians are defined as those having any ancestry that can be traced to the indigenous population before the first landfall of Westerners in 1778.
Both Chief Judge Alex Kozinski and Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt dissented from the full 9th Circuit’s refusal to rehear the case.
“It is entirely unacceptable to ask minors to test the seriousness of the ‘undoubtedly severe’ threats that have been made against them in order to gain access to the federal legal system,” Judge Reinhardt said.
Chief Judge Kozinski cited some of the Internet threats directed at the four non-native Hawaiian challengers, such as “4 kids ... will need 10 bodyguards” and “Sacrifice them!”
“If threats like that were made against me or my family, I’d be worried,” Kozinski said. “No litigant should fear for his safety, or that of his family, as a condition of seeking
A version of this news article first appeared in The School Law Blog.