LETTER: TMT and the Court Systems

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The opponents to the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea had an opportunity to petition the US Supreme Court to review last year’s Hawai‘i Supreme Court ruling. There was a 90-day deadline for a petition to be filed after entry of final judgment of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court ruling. The latter ruling upheld the TMT’s conservation district use permit, which allowed the project to start construction.

The 90-day clock to petition the US Supreme Court began in late December 2018. That deadline came and went, which I found surprising. I thought they were going to petition the United State’s highest court to review this case. Then I read an article a few months ago that stated why they decided not to litigate this further.  As far as I understand, they felt the U. S Supreme Court was stacked against indigenous peoples. Their petition wouldn’t be fairly reviewed by the court as a result.

I somewhat hoped they’d proceed with their US Supreme Court petition on religious desecration grounds. This is one of the main issues brought up by the Mauna protesters against this project. A conclusive decision on this matter would’ve put it to rest, but that won’t happen as the opponents decided to let their remaining legal options expire.

The TMT’s 10-year permitting process, which resulted in two contested case hearings, and years of litigation, speaks for itself. The Courts upheld the TMT’s permitting, which could’ve been further litigated by protesters. However, they decided to let their legal options as far as invalidating the CDUP lapse, and illegally block Maunakea Access Road instead.


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