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Ke Kānāwai Māmalahoe: Equality in Our Splintered Profession

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Title:Ke Kānāwai Māmalahoe: Equality in Our Splintered Profession
Authors:Andrade, Troy J.H.
Date Issued:2010
Publisher:U. of Haw. Law. Rev.
Citation:Andrade, Troy J. H. (2010) Ke Kānāwai Māmalahoe: Equality in Our Splintered Profession. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Law Review 33(1)
Abstract:The words "Equal Justice Under Law," carved into the western facade of the United States Supreme Court building, exemplify the nation's commitment to principles of fairness and equality-principles that run deep within the American construct ofjustice.' For Americans, these principles have been "a rallying cry, a promise, an article of national faith,"2 claiming its origins in the nation's Declaration of Independence.
In Hawai'i, equality has been a mandate codified in the first law: Kamehameha and Ka-hauku'i paddled to Papa'i and on to Kea'au in Puna where some men and women were fishing, and a little child sat on the back of one of the men. Seeing them about to go away, Kamehameha leaped from his canoe intending to catch and kill the men, but they all escaped with the women except two men who stayed to protect the man with the child. During the struggle Kamehameha caught his foot in a crevice of the rock and was stuck fast; and the fishermen beat him over the head with a paddle. Had it not been that one of the men was hampered with the child and their ignorance that this was Kamehameha with whom they were struggling, Kamehameha would have been killed that day. This quarrel was named Ka-lele-iki, and from the striking of Kamehameha's head with a paddle came the law of Mamala-hoe (Broken paddle) for Kamehameha.'
With the memory of a wooden paddle shattered across his face, Kamehameha, the first sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands, would forever internalize the responsibility he had to his people. In his royal edict, Ke Kanawai Mamalahoe [Law of the Splintered Paddle], the first law of the Kingdom of Hawai'i, Kamehameha galvanized the supremacy of the law,
protected people from physical harm, and enshrined equal rights for all. Centuries later, Kamehameha's vision of equality, like the words "Equal Justice Under Law," although admirably close, have failed to come to fruition in many aspects of life. Discrimination and exclusion have impeded the practice of law and have truly splintered the legal profession.
Pages/Duration:41 pages
Appears in Collections: Andrade, Troy J. H.

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