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Courts in the Community: Hawaii Supreme Court Holds Oral Argument at Waipahu High School

Posted on Nov 14, 2019 in Featured News, News & Reports, Press Releases

The Hawaii Supreme Court takes questions from students at Waipahu High School

From left: Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice Richard W. Pollack, Associate Justice Paula A. Nakayama, Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald, Associate Justice Sabrina S. McKenna, and Associate Justice Michael D. Wilson answer questions from the students after oral argument at Waipahu High School’s Courts in the Community event, November 14, 2019.

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Supreme Court held an oral argument on November 14, 2019 at Waipahu High School with nearly 500 students in attendance.

Students from Waipahu, Campbell, Kapolei, Pearl City and Waianae High Schools participated in the Judiciary’s Courts in the Community program, designed to educate students about the Judiciary’s role in government and its function in resolving disputes in a democratic society.

The court heard oral arguments in the case of State vs. Celeste Baker. Oral argument was followed by two separate question-and-answer sessions for the students; one with the attorneys and another with the five justices.

To prepare, the students from each high school studied a curriculum developed by the Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center and the Students for Public Outreach and Civic Education of the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law. Attorneys from the Hawaii State Bar Association volunteered their time and facilitated a moot court activity in the participating classrooms.

“The future of our system of government depends on the public’s understanding of the Constitution and the protections it provides,” said Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald. “The Courts in the Community program is about hands-on civics education and providing students with a chance to go beyond the textbooks by observing a real Supreme Court oral argument.

“We would like to thank everyone who made this day a success — the students, teachers, school administrators, attorneys, the Hawaii State Bar Association, Olelo TV and the Judiciary staff,” Recktenwald added.

Hawaii State Bar Association President Derek R. Kobayashi said, “It has been a pleasure for us to work with the Judiciary to provide our youth with this opportunity. The volunteer attorneys were excited about going into the classroom and teaching the students about the case. I’m sure they even learned a great deal from the students.”

The Hawaii State Bar Association and the Hawaii State Bar Foundation provided the students with lunches and transportation to and from Waipahu High School.


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