Hawaii Judges Celebrate National Judicial Outreach Week 2020Posted on Mar 13, 2020 in Featured News, News & Reports
Hawaii’s state judges engaged a broad cross section of community members in a variety of settings during National Judicial Outreach Week 2020. They met with people outside of the formal courtroom setting to help enhance public understanding of the work courts do to provide a fair and impartial system of justice, maintain open and transparent government, and protect the fundamental legal rights of all citizens.
Third Circuit District Court Judge Margaret Masunaga spoke with five groups, totaling at least 270 people in West Hawaii. “National Judicial Outreach Week got me thinking about the rule of law and due process this year, and I was just feeling proud to be an American,” she said.
“My parents were both interned during World War II – one in Arizona and one in Arkansas – simply because they were Japanese. They were not afforded the fair treatment that all Americans are entitled to in our system of justice. And while my mother and her family were interned, my uncle volunteered for the 442nd Infantry Regiment and fought for our country in Italy and France. My husband’s uncle volunteered for the 100th Infantry Battalion from Kona. He died fighting the war when he was 26 years old.”
Judge Masunaga noted that Third Circuit Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra (ret.) was the one who advocated for attorneys to engage the community on the Hawaii island. “He was an inspiring example. Events like National Judicial Outreach Week give judges the opportunity to help support and protect their communities by educating them about the rule of law, and the resources and public services available through the courts,” said Masunaga.
National Judicial Outreach Week is an initiative started by the American Bar Association in 2017, and occurs March 1 – 10 each year. During this time, judges and lawyers across the country engage with community members to discuss the importance of our nation’s commitment to the rule of law – the legal principle that all people, institutions and entities, public and private, are treated equally and fairly before the law.