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Hawai`i Legal Research: Constitutions

Links to online legal resources for researching Hawaii laws.

About the Resources on This Page

Resources with call numbers are in print format located in the Law Library.  Most will be found in the Hawaiian Collection located in the lobby area.

Online Archives

LLMC-Digital

LLMC (Law Library Microform Consortium, located in Kaneohe) scans original images and makes them searchable.  You can find many rare publications relating to Hawaii's legal history at this site.

Available to UH Manoa via LLMC-Digital http://lawproxy.lib.hawaii.edu:2048/login?url=http://www.llmc.com.

Ka Huli Ao (Digital Archives) - Punawaiola

http://www.punawaiola.org/

Ka Huli Ao was established in 2005 at the Law School through a Native Hawaiian Education Act grant.  In collaboration with the Hawai‘i State Archives, Ka Huli Ao amassed a collection of approximately three hundred thousand images of historic documents ranging from the Kingdom of Hawai‘i's original Constitution to the journals of the proceedings of the House of Nobles.

Please Note:  The archives of Ka Huli Ao are not in the Law Library.  Ka Huli Ao maintains its own physical and virtual spaces.

Constitutional Documents

Historical Constitutions

Constitutions of Hawaii

Kingdom of Hawaii

Constitution of 1840  (October 8, 1840) (Monarch:  Kamehameha III) In The Fundamental Law of Hawaii, Lorrin A. Thurston, ed. pp. 1-9. Available to UH Manoa via LLMC-Digital http://lawproxy.lib.hawaii.edu:2048/login?url=http://www.llmc.com.

  • King shall be the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the Kingdom (King, Premier, four appointees of the representative body = six person Supreme Court of the Kingdom)
  • King can appoint a premier
  • King can appoint four island governors
  • House of Nobles (hereditary)
  • Representative body

Constitution of 1852  (June 14, 1852) (Monarch:  Kamehameha III) In The Fundamental Law of Hawaii, Lorrin A. Thurston, ed. pp. 155-168. Available to UH Manoa via LLMC-Digital http://lawproxy.lib.hawaii.edu:2048/login?url=http://www.llmc.com.

  • King can appoint a "special counsellor" - Kahina Nui
  • King can appoint an advisory privy council of state, ministers, governors
  • A legislative body comprised of the house of nobles and the house of representatives
  • Appointed 3-member Supreme Court
  • Chief Justice became the chancellor of the kingdom
  • Inferior courts established by the legislature

Constitution of 1864  (August 20, 1864) (Monarch:  Kamehameha V) In The Fundamental Law of Hawaii, Lorrin A. Thurston, ed. pp. 169-179. Available to UH Manoa via LLMC-Digital http://lawproxy.lib.hawaii.edu:2048/login?url=http://www.llmc.com.

  • Kamehameha V refused to take the oath upholding the 1852 Constitution
  • He abolished the 1852 Constitution
  • Abolished universal suffrage in favor of property and literacy qualifications on voting

Constitution of 1887  (July 6, 1887) (Monarch:  Kalakaua) In The Fundamental Law of Hawaii, Lorrin A. Thurston, ed. pp. 181-194. Available to UH Manoa via LLMC-Digital http://lawproxy.lib.hawaii.edu:2048/login?url=http://www.llmc.com.

  • Also known as the "Bayonet Constitution of 1887" because it was imposed on the king by a group led by publisher Lorrin A. Thurston.
Republic of Hawaii

Constitution of 1894  (July 4, 1894)

Territory of Hawaii

Organic Act of 1900  (June 14, 1900)

  •  The Hawaiian Organic Act of 1900 is available in volume 15 of Michie's Hawaii Revised Statutes Annotated [KFH 30 .A4].
State of Hawaii
  • The Constitution of the State of Hawaii, by the Hawaii Statehood Commission - July 22, 1950 - Two printings of this Constitution are available in the Law Library.  Both have 31 pages.  The 1959 Hawaii Constitution can be found in the Session Laws Library on Heinonline in the First State Legislature 1959.

The Constitution of the State of Hawaii can be amended in one of two ways:

  1. Amendments proposed by the Legislature, or
  2. Constitutional Convention

Constitutional Conventions since 1898:

  • 1968 Constitutional Convention
    • Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of Hawaii of 1968 -
  • 1978 Constitutional Convention
    • Hawaii Constitutional Convention Studies 1978, Constitutional Convention Organization and Procedures, Rev. by Martha Noyes - available in pdf from the Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau.

Constitutions of Hawai`i

Current Constitution

The current Hawai`i Constitution can be found online at the Legislative Reference Bureau's site and in various other resources in the Law Library.  Print resources are located in Hawaii collection in the Law Library lobby area.  The Law Library has the official as well as the two unofficial statutory compilations for Hawaii in print.

  • Michie's Hawaii Revised Statutes Annotated - Volume 15.  This volume also includes:
    • The Organic Act, an Act to Provide a Government for the Territory of Hawaii (1900)
    • The Admission Act, an Act to Provide for the Admission of the State of Hawaii into the Union (1959)
    • Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920 (this is now part of the Hawaii Constitution)
  • West's Hawaii Revised Statutes Annotated - Volume 1. This volume also includes:
    • The Organic Act, an Act to Provide a Government for the Territory of Hawaii (1900)
    • The Admission Act, an Act to Provide for the Admission of the State of Hawaii into the Union (1959)
    • Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920 (this is now part of the Hawaii Constitution)