State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse
Information Related to Hawaiʻi's November 6, 2018 State Constitutional Convention Referendum
Constitutions of Hawaii, University of Hawaii School of Law.
1950 Constitutional Convention
Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of Hawaii, 1950,
1968 Constitutional Convention*
Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of Hawaii of 1968, Honolulu: State of Hawaii, 1973.
1978 Constitutional Convention*
Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of Hawaii of 1978. Honolulu: State of Hawaii, 1980.
Fischer, Victor, A New Constitutional Convention For Alaska? The Lessons of Hawaii 1978, Prepared for the Interim Committee on the Constitutional Convention of the Alaska State Legislature, March 10, 1980. In the judgment of J.H. Snider, this is the most thorough and best of the scholarly studies that cover Hawaii’s 1978 state constitutional convention.
Kahle, Richard F., and Samuel B. K. Change, editors, Hawaii Constitutional Convention Studies 1978, Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau. The Hawaii Constitutional Studies 1978 were undertaken at the direction of the legislature and are an attempt to present in understandable form many of the possible issues and the arguments on both sides of such issues that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1978 may wish to consider. The following is only a small subset of the studies; the one on Article XV: Revision and Amendment, may be most relevant.
- Noyes, Martha, Constitutional Convention Organization and Procedures, May 1978
- Kahle, Richard, editor, Introduction and Article Summaries, April 1978
- Josephs, Hilary, et al., Article I: Bill of Rights, May 1978
- Najita, Joyce, Article XII: Organization; Collective Bargaining, May 1978
- Inouye, Frank, and Jeffrey Frandsen, Article XV: Revision and Amendment, May 1978
*Note: Hawaii State government hasn’t made available online either the proceedings of the 1968 or 1978 constitutional conventions. Fortunately, however, they are available via a private online law service.
Intro: Biographical essay by J.H. Snider
Overviews of Hawaii’s Constitutional Convention Tradition. The best overview of Hawaii’s state constitutional convention history is Amy K. Trask’s History of Revision: The Constitutional Convention Question in Hawai’i, 1950-2008, 31 U. Haw. L. Rev. 291 (2008-2009). Her historical narrative, which fills the bulk of her article, is the best part.
The most widely cited overview of Hawaii’s Constitution and constitutional convention history is Anne Feder Lee’s The Hawaii state constitution: a reference guide. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1993. The book is one of many books published by Greenwood Press as part of its state constitution series and follows a cookie cutter format. The series was reprinted by Oxford University Press in the early 2000s. It generally provide an accessible and brief summary of Hawaii’s state constitutional convention history–but primarily from a legal rather than a political perspective. Alas, it is both outdated and exceptionally weak in covering the Constitution’s Article XVII, Revision & Amendment. Most disturbing to this author, its theory of constitutionalism, which under-girds the work in an absent-minded way, is controversial without acknowledging competing viewpoints.
Overviews of Specific Hawaii Constitutional Conventions. Hawaii has had two state constitutional conventions since statehood in 1959. My favorite study of the 1978 constitutional convention is Victor Fischer’s A New Constitutional Convention For Alaska? The Lessons of Hawaii 1978, which wasn’t a study either prepared for academics or Hawaiians. It was written for Alaskan government officials preparing for an upcoming Alaskan state constitutional convention referendum. The most widely cited academic study of the 1978 constitutional convention is Norman Meller and Richard H. Kosaki’s “Hawaii’s constitutional convention–1978.” National Civic Review 69, no. 5 (1980): 248-271.
My favorite study of Hawaii’s 1968 constitutional convention is Sean A. Kelleher’s The Politics of Constitutional Revision in Hawaii, 1968, which was published as Kelleher’s Ph.D. dissertation from Brown University. This is the most detailed study of any of Hawaii’s individual constitutional conventions.
My favorite study of Hawaii’s 1950 constitutional convention is S. Gale Lowrie’s “Hawaii Drafts a Constitution,” 1951. Like Fischer, he was an academic from another state trying to learn lessons for his own state.
Scholarly Studies Focused on Hawaii
In comparison to some other states, Hawaii has a relatively small scholarly literature on its state constitutional convention tradition. Only several days of work are needed to catch up with the scholarship.
Barnard, Mary Ann. “Enabling and implementing legislation and state constitutional convention committee reports.” U. Haw. L. Rev. 6 (1984): 523.
Bartholomew, Paul C., and Robert M. Kamins. “The Hawaiian Constitution: A Structure for Good Government.” American Bar Association Journal (1959): 1145-1222.
Cornwell, Elmer E., Jay S. Goodman, and Wayne R. Swanson. State constitutional conventions. Praeger, 1975. On the 1968 convention.
Haas, Michael. How to Demolish Racism: Lessons from the State of Hawai’i. Lexington Books, 2016, pp. 115-117.
Kelleher, Sean Aloysius. “The politics of constitutional revision in Hawaii, 1968.” Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Brown University (1973).
Kosaki, Richard H. “Constitutions and constitutional conventions of Hawaii: 1840-1978.” (1978).
Lee, Anne Feder. The Hawaii state constitution: a reference guide. No. 14. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1993. This book was later republished as Lee, Anne Feder. The Hawaii state constitution. Oxford University Press, 2011.
Lowrie, S. Gale. “Hawaii Drafts a Constitution.” U. Cin. L. Rev.20 (1951): 215-38. On the 1950 convention/constitution.
Lowrie, S. Gale. “A Constitution for Hawaii.” The American Political Science Review 45, no. 3 (1951): 770-74.
Kelleher, Sean Aloysius. “The politics of constitutional revision in Hawaii, 1968.” Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Brown University (1973). Focuses on the 1968 convention but also has a good history of Hawaii’s constitutional conventions going back to the early 19th Century.
Meller, Norman. “With an understanding heart: constitution making in Hawaii.” National Municipal League, 1971. Not available online.
Meller, Norman, and Richard H. Kosaki. “Hawaii’s constitutional convention–1978.” National Civic Review 69, no. 5 (1980): 248-271. On the 1978 convention.
Sigal, Benjamin C., and Joyce M. Najita, editors, Convention Issues: The Changing Constitution. Labor-Management Education Program, University of Hawaii,
Honolulu, April 1968. 180 pp. This book is not available online. On the 1968 convention.
Trask, Amy K., History of Revision: The Constitutional Convention Question in Hawai’i, 1950-2008, 31 U. Haw. L. Rev. 291 (2008-2009).
Yip, Elijah, When Reason Offends Common Sense, Hawaii State Bar Association, July 1998.
The last time Congress created a new state, Constitution Daily, National Constitution Center, March 12, 2018.