Friday, September 9, 2005
Amicus Curiae Brief Filed: The Native American Rights Fund (NARF), in coordination
with the Bishop Estate Trustees, on behalf of its client, the National Indian
Education Association (NIEA), filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the
petition for rehearing en banc filed by the Kamehameha Schools in the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals. The Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN), through
its attorney, signed onto the brief NARF drafted.
In June 2003, a lawsuit was filed by an anonymous student challenging
the Kamehameha Schools policy of restricting admission to Native Hawaiians only. The
Kamehameha Schools have given preference to Native Hawaiians in its admissions policy
for the past 117 years. In addressing this challenge, the federal district court ruled
that the policy was legal because it served "a legitimate remedial purpose of improving
Native Hawaiians socioeconomic and educational disadvantages." On August 9, 2005, in a
2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit Court reversed that ruling finding that the Schools
admission policy constitutes unlawful discrimination and is a violation of federal
civil rights law.
NIEA and their member tribes and tribal organizations
have a direct interest in ensuring that the educational needs of Native Hawaiian,
American Indian and Alaska Native students, and the public and private programs
implemented to fulfill those needs, are protected and preserved under federal law.
This case presents questions of exceptional importance. In particular, whether
remediation of ongoing socioeconomic and educational deficiencies suffered by
Native peoples as the result of the influx of western civilization provides
"legitimate justification" to support a remedial race-conscious admissions
policy of a private school which gives preference to Native students.
Copy of brief