Native Hawaiian Rights
Justice Robert Klein has served for 10 years as Board Counsel for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs ("OHA"), a state agency charged with advocating for the rights of Native Hawaiians under state and federal law. In this capacity he has successfully defended OHA and other Hawaiian groups against 14th Amendment challenges in federal court that would render both the Hawaiian Homelands Trust and the Public Lands Trust unconstitutional. He has also appeared before Hawai'i state courts advocating for unpaid ceded lands revenue to be paid by the state to OHA (OHA v. State, 110 Hawai'i 338, 133 P.3d 767 (2006)) and has been lead counsel in several major cases before the U. S. District Court for the District of Hawai'i and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in cases such as Carroll v. Nakatani, 342 F.3d 934 (9th Cir. 2003); Arakaki v. Lingle, 423 F.3d 954 (9th Cir. 2005); Arakaki v. Lingle, 477 F.3d 1048 (9th Cir. 2007); Day v. Apoliona, 496 F.3d 1027 (9th Cir. 2007); and Day v. Apoliona, 616 F.3d 918 (9th Cir. 2010). In addition to advocacy through litigation, Mr. Klein has worked with Hawai'i's Congressional delegation on legislation that would afford Native Hawaiians federal recognition similar to that enjoyed by Alaskan natives and Native American nations.