Molokai Students Attend Court Oral Arguments

HI State Judiciary News Release

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.”

Molokai High School students watched the oral argument, along with those from Lahainaluna High School, Kamehameha Schools Maui, King Kekaulike High School, and Lanai High and Elementary School.. A total of 315 students participated.

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 arguments 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.

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 Lanai students.


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