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About the Problem Author
Associate Professor Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie is the problem author for the 2012 competition. Professor MacKenzie also serves as the Director of Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law. Prior to enrolling in law school, Professor MacKenzie worked at the Native American Rights Fund in Boulder, Colorado where she was encouraged to pursue a legal education to advance the rights of Native Hawaiians. She graduated with the first class of the then-named University of Hawai‘i Law School. After receiving her law degree, Professor MacKenzie served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William S. Richardson
of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court.
In 1980, she joined the staff of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation
(NHLC), a public interest law firm protecting and advancing the rights of Native Hawaiians. She served as NHLC's Executive Director from 1982-1986 and as senior staff attorney from 1986-1992. From 1992-1999, she was the Executive Director of the Hawaiian Claims Office, a state program established to review and make recommendations on claims by Hawaiian Home Lands Beneficiaries.
Professor MacKenzie is project coordinator and chief editor for the forthcoming second edition of the Native Hawaiian Rights Handbook, which she originally edited and helped to write, and is a contributor to the 2005 edition of the Felix S. Cohen's Handbook on Federal Indian Law.
Professor MacKenzie has two forthcoming articles, one on the Native Hawaiian rights decisions of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court during the tenure of Chief Justice Ronald Moon, and another on the Native Hawaiian-State of Hawai‘i Relationship. A separate article entitled Hawaiian Custom in Hawai‘i State Law is in publication as part of the symposium for the Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence. Professor MacKenzie has worked on cases asserting Hawaiian traditional and customary rights, dealing with land issues, and defending the constitutionality of Hawaiian programs. She teaches Native Hawaiian Rights, the Native Hawaiian Rights Clinic, and the Second Year Seminar legal writing course.
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