Hawaii Supreme Court declines to reconsider Super Ferry ruling

By Chris Rizo | May 14, 2009

HONOLULU, Hawaii (Legal Newsline) - The Hawaii Supreme Court has denied the state's request to reconsider its ruling that docked the Hawaii Superferry.

Together, Gov. Linda Lingle and state lawmakers urged the state's high court to reverse its decision that the Hawaii Superferry should remain docked until an environmental impact assessment is completed.

The justices rejected their request in a ruling Wednesday.

In March, the Supreme Court ruled that the ferry should not have been allowed to operate because a state law that allowed the high-speed catamaran to operate was written to specifically benefit the Superferry.

The high court's decision forced the 836-passenger, 200-vehicle Hawaii Superferry to suspend its Honolulu-to-Kahului service, and could have far-reaching affects on the powers of state lawmakers, officials said.

In its ruling, the majority of justices sided with the Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow and the Kahului Harbor Coalition, which argued that the law, known as Act 2, was narrowly tailored to benefit one business, the ferry's operator.

The majority opinion in the Supperferry case was held by Associate Justice James Duffy Jr., Associate Justice Simeon Acoba, Jr. and First Circuit Court Judge Michael Town, who was filling the vacancy left by Associate Justice Steven Levinson, who retired.

Chief Justice Ronald T. Y. Moon and Associate Justice Paula Nakayama concurred in part and dissented in part.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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