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Hawaii Supreme Court Holds Oral Argument at Lahainaluna High School

Posted on Dec 8, 2022 in Featured News, News & Reports, Press Releases
Hawaii Supreme Court Justices at the bench in the Lahainaluna High School gymnasium, 12-06-2022.

From left: Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice Michael D. Wilson, Associate Justice Paula A. Nakayama, Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald, Associate Justice Sabrina S. McKenna, and Associate Justice Todd W. Eddins convened for oral argument in the Lahainaluna High School gymnasium during the December 6, 2022 Courts in the Community.

LAHAINA, Hawaii – For the first time in three years, the Hawaii Supreme Court resumed in-person oral arguments at a high school for its Courts in the Community program.

“We are thrilled to be at Lahainaluna High School today to conduct oral argument and provide the students with this unique opportunity,” said Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald. “During the pandemic, students participated by Zoom, but nothing compares to being in person. This was an exciting day for everyone involved.”

Students from Lahainaluna High School, Kamehameha Schools Maui, King Kekaulike High School, Lanaʻi High and Elementary School, and Molokai High School watched the oral argument in-person. A total of 315 students participated.

Students, teachers, and special guests sitting in the stands of the Lahainaluna High School gymnasium, 12-06-2022.

Students, teachers, and special guests gathered in the Lahainaluna High School gymnasium for the first in-person Courts in the Community event in three years.

The Courts in the Community program is designed to educate students about the Judiciary’s role in government and its function in resolving disputes in a democratic society. The students prepared using a curriculum developed by the Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center and the Students for Public Outreach and Civic Education at the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law. Attorneys from the Maui County Bar Association and Hawaii State Bar Association volunteered their time to discuss the case with the students and facilitated a moot court activity.

The court heard oral argument in the case of Hoʻomoana Foundation v. Land Use Commission, Puʻuonoa Homeowners Association, Inc., and Ross R. Scott. Oral argument was followed by two question-and-answer sessions for the students; one with the attorneys and another with the five justices.

“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 an actual Supreme Court oral argument,” said the Chief Justice.

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

“It has been a pleasure for us to work with the Judiciary to provide our youth with this opportunity,” said Hawaii State Bar Association President Shannon S. Sheldon. “The volunteer attorneys were excited to engage with the teachers and students about the case. And, as a Maui-based attorney, I am especially pleased that the program resumed in-person oral arguments here on our island at Lahainaluna.”

The Hawaii State Bar Association and the Hawaii State Bar Foundation provided the in-person participants with lunches and transportation for the King Keakaulike, Molokai, and Lanaʻi students.


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