By Edmund M. Y. Leong

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Extra resources for The Hawaii Supreme Court's Role in Public Policy-Making (American Legal Institutions)

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In the ensuing years (1973-1994), the annual docket percentage values fluctuated in a more randomized pattern. This indicates that information and inferences about challenge levels for any one court derived from any selected subperiod could differ markedly with the chosen years. The multistate study also determined that the number of challenges, number of invalidations, and invalidation rates varied substantially across the states. 22 Compared to other states, Hawai‘i was a low-challenge level, low-invalidation level, but high-invalidation rate state.

And the HSC has tended to be as or more willing to invalidate legislation on federal as on state constitutional grounds, which may seem unusual since federal constitutional rulings are subjectable to further review by the federal courts. But the newness of the state constitution may have contributed to this behavior. With a limited body of its own state constitutional case law, the HSC may have needed to turn to federal constitutional case law for guidance on its constitutional rulings more than would be considered typical for a SSC.

This suggests that changes in workload do not much affect invalidation activity. Yet, the correlation between challenge and invalidation levels was strong. The three correlation results may be consistent because of the manner in which variations in challenge and invalidation levels occurred relative to variations in caseload. On a year-to-year basis, there were just a few instances where the HSC did not deal with any challenges of legislation (six out of thirty-six years), but many instances when there were no invalidations (twenty-two out of thirty-six years).

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