Skip to Main Nav Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer Content

Courts in the Community: Hawaii Supreme Court Holds Oral Argument at the University of Hawaii at Hilo

Posted on Nov 9, 2017 in Press Releases


HILO, HI – As part of the Judiciary’s Courts in the Community outreach program, the Hawaii Supreme Court heard oral argument today at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. More than 270 students from Waiakea High School, Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School, Hilo High School, Honokaa High & Intermediate School, Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science Public Charter School, and Connections Public Charter School attended to enhance their understanding of the Judiciary’s role in government and its function in resolving disputes in a democratic society.

The Hawaii Supreme Court convenes in schools to hear oral argument in cases pending before the court. This is the tenth argument in the program, which began in 2012.

To prepare, the participating juniors and seniors from each 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 County Bar Association also volunteered their time and facilitated a moot court activity in the participating classrooms, where the students had the opportunity to argue the case themselves before attending the Courts in the Community event.

“Our Courts in the Community program provides students with a chance to go beyond the textbooks by observing a real Supreme Court oral argument,” said Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald. “Through this experience, we hope that the students learn about the constitution, the role of courts, and the importance of the rule of law. That understanding is vital to the future of our democracy.

I would like to extend a special mahalo to the teachers, the Hawaii County Bar Association, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Hawaii State Bar Foundation, and the dozens of volunteer attorneys who helped make this happen. These invaluable partnerships are what make the program a success,” added Chief Justice Recktenwald.

The Hawaii State Bar Association and the Hawaii State Bar Foundation generously provided the students with lunches and transportation to and from their schools on Hawaii Island.

“I’d like to thank our attorneys who enthusiastically volunteered to visit participating classrooms for pre-event discussions and preparations,” said HSBA President Nadine Y. Ando. “It was exciting to see the students intently following the arguments and asking very probing questions after the official court proceedings.”

“The Hawaii County Bar Association appreciates this opportunity to work with Big Island teachers and students,” said Hawaii County Bar Association (HCBA) President Jeffrey W. Ng. “As attorneys, one of the most beneficial things we can do is provide our community with information on how our justice system works. Through the Courts in the Community Program, students gain knowledge and experience that they may use as leaders of tomorrow. The HCBA would like to thank everyone who made this day possible, with special thanks to the Hawaii Supreme Court, volunteer attorneys, teachers and school administrators, and the students themselves for being such enthusiastic participants.”

The court heard oral argument in the case of State v. Russo. Oral argument was followed by two separate question-and-answer sessions for the students – one with the attorneys and another with the five justices.

If you have any questions or would like to request additional photos of the event, please contact the Hawaii State Judiciary Communications and Community Relations Office at (808) 539-4909.

For more information, contact the Communications and Community Relations Office at 808-539-4909 or via email at

Subscribe to the Hawai'i State Judiciary mailing list for email notification of press releases and other announcements.