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Hawaii Organic Act: Congressional debates on Hawaii Organic Act

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3821
These are the changes which have suggested, first, in regard to 
making the judiciary independent, and second, making the laws 
relating to the tenure of office uniform with our laws. Mr. 
MONDELL.   Does the gentleman's amendment provide that these 
officers shall be citizens? Mr. SHAFROTH.   I have put it in the 
language of the Senate bill.   I am perfectly willing that they should 
be citizens, if the gentleman desires it.   I adopted the same 
language that I found in the section of the Senate bill.   The 
amendment offered is the exact language of the Senate bill as it 
comes here.   It received very thorough consideration over there, 
and I understand was reported unanimously by the committee.   I did 
not want to change any words relative to it. Mr. MONDELL.   Well, 
Mr. Chairman, I move to amend the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Colorado. Mr. SHAFROTH.   I will accept the 
amendment. Mr. KNOX.   Mr. Chairman, I would say to the 
gentleman from Colorado that this provision received great 
consideration from the committee and very much more consideration 
than - if I may be permitted to speak of what has taken place at the 
other end of the Capitol - it did in the Senate.   As the bill 
originally came from the commission appointed by the President, 
the provision was that the judges of the supreme court, as well as of 
the circuit courts, should be appointed by the governor, and that 
was supported upon the ground that the governor of these islands, 
2,000 miles away from the shores of the United States, a man pre-
sumed to be acquainted with the members of the bar from whom the 
judges ought to be appointed, would be more fitted than another to 
decide who was best fitted to administer properly the laws of these 
islands. Now, to meet the objection that was made against the 
appointment of the supreme court judges by the governor, and for an 
independent judiciary, the provision was made: that the judges of 
the supreme court should be appointed by the President.   The 
supreme court of Hawaii has final jurisdiction in all cases.   There is 
no case in which the governor or any other citizen could be involved 
in Hawaiian litigation but what the questions arising could be 
saved by a bill of exceptions, to go to the supreme court, judges of 
which are appointed by the President, as the gentleman desires, for 
final adjudication. Now, Mr. Chairman, what are the circuit judges?   
The supreme court of Hawaii is the supreme court of judicature of 
general jurisdiction, with power to hear appeals in civil cases, in 
equity, and in admiralty, and in all questions of maritime 
jurisdiction.   There are five circuit courts in the island.   Over these 
preside five circuit judges.   They are simply nisi prius courts, 
which sit with juries and decide cases.   To these circuit judges may 
come appeals from the district courts, which are simply justices' 
courts, with a limited jurisdiction of $300.    Questions of that kind 
may go to the circuit courts.   They are not courts of last resort; all 
their proceedings may be reviewed by the supreme court on appeal 
or upon exceptions.   They are local courts in every sense of the 
word, and they sit with local juries, which are drawn from the 
inhabitants of the island. Hence I think these judges would be much 
better selected by the governor, who is acquainted with the bar of 
the island, than by the President. Mr. TERRY.   Why do you give 
these judges so much longer terms than are given to judges in any 
other Territory of the United States? Mr. KNOX.   I was not now 
discussing the question of terms -- Mr. TERRY.   That is involved 
here, however. Mr. KNOX.   I was not discussing that question.   I 
will say, however, that our committee will propose an amendment 
as to the term of office. Mr. SHAFROTH.   One question upon the 
point on which you are now: Is it not a, fact that these circuit courts 
are courts of general jurisdiction; that the appellate or supreme court 
is only a court of appeal, and, consequently, every question that 
may be presented to it must first arise in the circuit courts? Mr. 
KNOX.   In general, the questions going before the supreme court are 
questions arising on nisi prius trials.   There are other questions, of 
course, such as questions in equity, matters of injunction, etc., that 
go in the first instance to the supreme court. Mr. SHAFROTH.   I 
understand that these are courts of general jurisdiction. Mr. KNOX.   
So they are. Mr. SHAFROTH.   And that the supreme court is the 
court of appeals. Now, the point I wanted to make was simply this: 
That every court of general jurisdiction has before it at some time 
questions involving the conduct or the policy of the governor -- 
The CHAIRMAN.   The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. KNOX.   
I ask a moment, with the indulgence of the committee.   The 
gentleman from Colorado has had great experience in connection 
with Territorial governments and their operations -

much greater than I have had - perhaps greater than that of any 
other member of the committee.   I ask him whether, in the organization 
of any of our Territories heretofore, this power has been given to the 
President? Mr. SHAFROTH.    Oh, yes; in all instances. Mr. KNOX.   
As to other judges than those of the supreme judges? Mr. 
SHAFROTH.   The supreme judges are the trial judges. Mr. KNOX.   
That is not the question.   Has the President appointed any judges in 
any of our Territories except judges of the supreme court? Mr. 
SHAFROTH.   There are no other judges in our Territories except 
probate judges elected by the people. Mr. KNOX.   Here we have these 
circuit judges, who are judges of probate; all such matters may come 
before them. Mr. SHAFROTH.   That might be; and if elected by the 
people, they would be an independent judiciary. [Here the hammer 
fell.] The CHAIRMAN.   The Chair asks the attention of the gentle-
man from Colorado for a moment.   He proposed an amendment to 
strike out a certain part of this section which has not yet been read.   
Without objection, the remainder of the section will be read; and 
then the motion of the gentleman will be in order. There was no 
objection. The Clerk read as follows:
The manner of appointment and removal and the tenure of all other officers 
shall be as provided by law; and the governor may appoint or remove any 
officer whose appointment or removal is not otherwise provided for. The salaries 
of all officers other than those appointed by the President shall be as provided 
by the legislature, but those of the chief justice and the justices of the supreme 
court and judges of the circuit courts shall not be diminished during their term 
of office.
Mr. SHAFROTH.   That is the part of the bill to which my 
amendment is offered. The CHAIRMAN.   Debate is exhausted on 
this amendment. The question is on agreeing to the amendment. Mr. 
ROBINSON of Indiana.   I move to amend by striking out the last 
word. The CHAIRMAN.   That would not be in order. Mr. 
CANNON.   I want to appeal to the gentleman from Massachusetts 
[Mr. KNOX] to move that the committee rise.   Let the bill be finished 
to-morrow. Mr. KNOX.   If the gentleman will allow this section to 
be read through, I will not ask the indulgence of the committee any 
longer this afternoon. Mr. MONDELL.   Mr. Chairman-- The 
CHAIRMAN.   For what purpose does the gentleman from Wyoming 
[Mr. MONDELL] rise? Mr. MONDELL.   I desire unanimous consent 
to discuss the pending question for three minutes. The CHAIRMAN.   
The gentleman from Wyoming asks unanimous consent to address 
the Committee of the Whole for three minutes.   Is there objection?   
The Chair hears none. Mr. MONDELL.   Mr. Chairman, I hope that 
the amendment of the gentleman from Colorado will be adopted.   
The provision of the bill which he proposes to amend is a departure 
from our past legislation for the Territories.   I believe there are 
even stronger reasons why the judges in Hawaii should be 
appointed by the President than have existed with regard to the 
Territories heretofore formed. The greatest danger in the new 
Territory, Mr. Chairman, is the danger of centralization of power, 
and this amendment is for the purpose of obviating, to that extent, 
that danger.   I believe that whoever is appointed governor of the 
new Territory will thank this Congress to be relieved of the duty and 
responsibility of appointing judges. I believe that we will have a 
better government there, a more satisfactory government, if we 
follow the rule which we have followed from the foundation of the 
Government, leaving the judicial appointments in the hands of the 
President. Mr. KNOX.   I ask for a vote. The CHAIRMAN.   The 
question is upon agreeing to the amendment offered by the gentleman 
from Colorado [Mr. SHAFROTH], The question being taken, the 
Chairman announced that the ayes appeared to have it. Mr. 
PARKER of New Jersey and Mr. FLETCHER demanded a division. 
The CHAIRMAN.   Did any gentleman demand a division? Mr. 
PARKER of New Jersey.   I demanded a division. The committee 
divided; and there were - ayes 86, noes 27. Mr. KNOX.   Mr. 
Chairman, as many members of the House have engagements this 
evening, I do not feel like asking the House to remain longer in 
session.   I would say in regard to this section 73 that the gentleman 
from Nevada [Mr. NEWLANDS] has an amendment which he desires 
to offer to-morrow.   I will therefore ask unanimous consent that the 
section may be considered as still pending.

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