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Hawaii Organic Act: Congressional debates on Hawaii Organic Act

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                             2124
why a circuit judge in Alabama can not exercise such power, how can we justify 
conferring double jurisdiction upon a Territorial court?
The Territorial court, under the decisions of the Supreme Court, derives from 
Congress, in view of its competent powers, all of the rights of a circuit court of 
Alabama or any other State, and also all of the rights, powers, and jurisdiction 
that belong to Federal courts. Those courts in practice have two dockets, one of 
which is for the disposal of cases that are local hi their origin and in their 
effect-purely local litigation. The other docket relates to cases of the 
Government of the United States or cases in which the Government of the 
United States is involved. This committee, and the commission, also, having 
some idea about this matter, undertook to get rid of this incongruity, this 
unnecessary mixing of two jurisdictions in the mind of a man serving two 
masters upon the bench, and we first of all separated the local courts in 
Hawaii entirely from the courts of the United States, and gave to them that 
kind of local jurisdiction that a circuit or other court in a State possesses.
Then, in order that the Government of the United States might have its 
rightful powers exercised judicially in the Hawaiian Islands, the committee 
recommended that a district court of the United States should be established in 
those islands having a jurisdiction that is unequivocal, that is plenary, that has 
been defined by statute and by judicial decisions so that there is no doubt or 
dispute about its powers at all, and that in that jurisdiction that judge, 
representing the Government of the United States, should preside in all cases 
where the laws and rights of the Government of the United States were involved.
Now, is there any serious objection, is there any constitutional objection, can 
there be any objection in theory or in practice to establishing in the islands of 
Hawaii the two separate jurisdictions just as they exist in the States? I can see 
no difficulty in the way. I have sought in vain for some constitutional difficulty, 
and it has never occurred to me or to any other member of the commission or 
to any other member of the Committee on Foreign Relations. The subject has been 
fully discussed, and the commit-tee have been of the opinion that we had just as 
much right to establish a district court in Hawaii as we have to establish a dis-
trict court in any State in the American Union.
Now, if there is no such difficulty, it behooves us in providing a good 
government for those people there to keep those jurisdictions separate, and in order 
to keep them separate the appointing power ought to be kept separate. The 
appointing power of the local jurisdiction ought to be the local government 
and of the Federal jurisdiction the Federal Government. Is there any collision 
between them? Is there a possibility of collision between them? No more in the 
islands of Hawaii than there is in the State of Alabama-not at all. They have 
separate functions to perform, separate jurisdictions to give them authority and 
power, separate officers for the purpose of enforcing their judgments and decrees, 
and there is no reason and no man can state a reason against this proposition 
except to say we have not heretofore done it. That is all you can say about it.
Heretofore, Mr. President, we have never had the power and the 
opportunity to legislate for a country situated as Hawaii is. I take it for 
granted that the Hawaiian Territory is now fully incorporated into the United 
States, and according to the very terms of the act of annexation the 
Constitution of the United States is in force there in all of its self-executing 
powers, except so far as Congress has seen proper to withhold the positive intro-
duction of those provisions of the Constitution and to retain for the present 
time and until Congress has further directed the local government of Hawaii in 
all of its full force and effect, except in respect of its foreign relations.
The islands of Hawaii are an outpost in the sea 2,000 miles removed from our 
coast. It is a maritime territory, strictly speaking. It has no connection with 
anything on any side except with the open ocean. Separated from the continent 
of the United States, responsibilities rest upon any government that may be 
found there which differ almost wholly from those that affect a Territory like 
Arizona or New Mexico, that is locked up in the bosom of the continent. 
What are the questions that arise in Hawaii every day, whose determination is 
absolutely essential to the preservation of any form of government there that is 
supposed to be at all complete or effective?
I will take the collection of customs, if yon please. Customs cases arise and 
must arise in Hawaii very frequently in which judicial determination is 
absolutely necessary to ascertain the rights of the parties. Will you refer those 
questions to the local court in Hawaii, which court may not be fully informed 
in respect of the laws of the United States on the subject of duties and customs? 
Criminal cases, smuggling, and a large class of criminal cases are continually 
arising in this outpost in the sea which can be dealt with efficiently only by a 
district court of the United States. I will not dwell upon these different topics to 
elaborate them at all, but I will refer to them rather by their heads.


We will take the subject of immigration from China, a subject that properly 
falls within the jurisdiction of a Federal tribunal. Shall we not have a Federal 
court In Hawaii to intercept the Chinese who may attempt to smuggle themselves 
onto this continent Contrary to law? Shall we leave it to a local court, and a 
local court whose interest may be directly in favor of introducing Chinese labor 
into those islands, if not into the United States? Is there not more likely to be a 
conflict of interest in a local court upon the question of Chinese immigration 
than would occur if that court had no jurisdiction of the subject whatever and a 
Federal court was there to deal with that very important matter? And so as to 
the importation of persons from Japan and from other countries under labor 
contracts. They are properly the subject of judicial action by a Federal tribunal.
So the still more important question of quarantine, the handling of these great 
masses of Orientals who come across the Pacific Ocean and are crowding like the 
salmon crowd in the fiords of Alaska, for the purpose of getting upon this 
continent, in order to find an easier place of existence and a better home than 
they can find in China and Japan, and in India also. Should there not be some 
independent United States power and authority upon those islands for the purpose 
of dealing with this question also? Then take the large number of cases that arise 
in admiralty in time of war and also in time of peace. Prize questions are 
continually being introduced to the judicial tribunals by captures at sea both at 
war and in peace, captures for violations of the revenue laws as well as the 
laws of blockade and the laws of war and the laws relating to the importation of 
contraband of war-prize cases, originating in a great many ways, that are to 
be determined and ought to be determined at the nearest point to which the 
prize can be taken for adjudication. Shall we deny to ourselves, not to the 
people of Hawaii-shall we deny to the Government of the United States the 
right and opportunity to have a prize court in Honolulu, and force the captors 
of prizes, no matter what the offense may have been for which the capture was 
made, to come 2,000 miles to the coast in order to find a court in San Diego or 
San Francisco or Los Angeles? It is an absurd situation.
Then take the questions that arise under the admiralty jurisdiction of a Federal 
court, and they are very numerous. The classifications even are very numerous, 
and cases of the greatest magnitude arise in those courts. There are seizures for 
forfeitures and penalties against the laws of the United States. There are 
possessory actions for ships triable in admiralty, questions of pilotage, fees of pilots, 
rights and duties of pilots, questions of salvage, where vessels are in collision, or 
for any cause where a question of salvage may arise, always very important and 
frequently very delicate for decision; questions of liens for repairs. Almost every 
ship that passes Hawaii must have some repairs put upon her at Honolulu. It is 
a rare thing for a ship to cross the Pacific Ocean without having some necessary 
repairs made at Honolulu. There are questions of liens upon tackle, apparel, 
and furniture for the payment of those repairs in the event that they are not 
paid according to the agreement between the parties, which must be decided in 
admiralty.
If it is a State court, you can not give to it jurisdiction requisite for the 
decision of these cases. It is only in virtue of the fact that Congress has the 
supreme power to confer the jurisdiction both of the State and the Federal 
Government upon a court of admiralty that the court proposed by the Senator 
from Connecticut can take any jurisdiction whatever of a lien for repairs upon 
a ship. There is that vast sweep of maritime contracts, very important in 
themselves and involving questions of the greatest possible difficulty and 
interest; questions of seamen's wages and questions of collisions, to which I 
have already referred. I do not care to detain the Senate by calling attention to 
some of the decisions upon these questions, because I suppose the law as I 
have stated it here now upon the question of the jurisdiction of these courts 
will hardly be disputed. I am referring to it merely for the purpose of showing 
the necessity of having an independent separate district court of the United 
States located in the Hawaiian Islands.
Then we will take the internal revenue and the violations of the internal-
revenue laws-the questions of illicit distilleries and the thousands of questions 
that arise continually under the internal-revenue laws of the United States. Are 
we going to execute our internal-revenue laws in Hawaii? Of course we will. 
The bill provides for it. The bill constitutes the Hawaiian Islands an internal-
revenue collection district. It also constitutes those islands a customs district of 
the United States, and we appoint there our custom-house officer, and all of the 
laws and all of the regulations that relate to the customs are put in force there by 
this bill.
Now, shall we have behind these powers that we carry into Hawaii no judge 
of the district court to control and regulate those matters as between the 
Government of the United States and the people of Hawaii? Shall we take away 
from a people who have al-ready elaborated in their judicial decisions a splendid 
system of admiralty law all of that system and confer upon them a jurisdiction

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