HONOLULU – The Hawaii Supreme Court convened today by Zoom, giving more than 110 students on three islands the opportunity to view oral argument in an actual case. Participating schools included Konawaena High School on Hawaii island, Lahainaluna High School on Maui, and Waipahu High School on Oahu.
Courts in the Community Returns: Konawaena, Lahainaluna, and Waipahu High Schools Participate Remotely
News Release from Hawaii Judiciary, May 7, 2021
This event marked the return of the Hawaii State Judiciary’s Courts in the Community outreach program, which was suspended in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2012, more than 5,000 students have participated in this educational initiative to enhance their understanding of the Judiciary’s role in government, and see first-hand how it resolves disputes in our democracy.
The court heard SCOT-20-0000309; In the Matter of Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. The case involves a wind farm facility located on 706.7 acres of land in Kahuku, Oahu.
Oral argument was followed by two question-and-answer sessions for the students – one with the attorneys and another with the justices.
To prepare for the case, students studied a curriculum developed by the Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center. Attorneys from the West Hawaii Bar Association, Maui County Bar Association, and Hawaii State Bar Association volunteered their time and facilitated a moot court activity where students had an opportunity to argue the case themselves.
“Courts in the Community is an investment in future generations,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. “This experiential learning program helps students gain a deeper understanding of the judicial process, and how the courts work to provide justice for all. This understanding is vital to the future of our democracy.”
“I would like to express our deepest thanks to the teachers, the West Hawaii Bar Association, the Maui County Bar Association, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Hawaii State Bar Foundation, and all the 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 would like to thank and congratulate the many dedicated teachers, volunteer attorneys, school and court administrators, and especially the students, who together made this first virtual Courts in the Community event such a success,” said HSBA President Levi Hookano. “The attorneys arguing each side of the many unique, challenging issues presented in this case set the stage for a spirited question-and-answer session with the students following the court proceedings.
Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice Michael D. Wilson poses a question to one of the attorneys during oral argument.
The oral argument will be broadcast live on the television stations of Olelo Community Media (https://olelo.org), Akakū Maui Community Media (https://www.akaku.org), and Ho’ike – Kauai Community Television (https://hoike.org). Check the websites for online availability and rebroadcast dates and times.
If you have any questions or would like to request additional photos or video of the event, please contact the Judiciary’s Communications and Community Relations Office at (808) 539-4909.
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