U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE KENNEDY VISITS GUAM

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By Gina Tabonares

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Aug. 8)—Visiting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy yesterday reaffirmed the importance of the Guam judicial system not only for America but also for Asia.

Speaking before hundreds of members of the Guam Bar Association, Supreme Court justices and Superior Court judges, Kennedy noted the potentials of law practitioners on the island, and the opportunities and challenges with the Asia-Pacific because of Guam’s proximity to Southeast Asian nations.

Kennedy, the third most senior justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, began his speech by congratulating Guam Supreme Court Associate Justice Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, who was confirmed U.S. District Court of Guam chief judge, and Supreme Court Chief Justice F. Phillip Carbullido, who was elected as second vice president of the Conference of Chief Justices in the nation.

"It indicated that Guam is once again ready to participate in all separate fields, on separate insights and with unique experience that you have here in the Pacific and with your magnificent contributions to your judicial system to the United States. Congratulations!" Kennedy said.

While noting how Guam Bar members write marvelous briefs which he said he read during his brief stint as a visiting circuit judge, Kennedy gave pointers to Guam lawyers on how to succeed in getting the votes of U.S. Supreme Court justices.

Kennedy explained the process of the work of justices in the higher court—from taking a look at the petition for certiorari, to putting the petition to the discuss list and writing the brief or their opinion.

He said the court receives at least 9,000 petitions a year, which they reduce to 500 discuss list.

He told Guam judiciary members that unlike in a trial court where there is a lot of emotional capital in every case, the justices’ work also receive tremendous pressure because they have to deal with deadlines.

Correcting lawyers’ impression that a petition will have a better chance in stressing errors of judgment, Kennedy said justices take a case not because it was decided wrongly, but because they think that their guidance is helpful in establishing justice.

"I want the bar to recognize the responsibility to make sure that your court is well advised of the dynamics and the substance of the federal and constitutional issues pertaining to the cases that you argue before. You must be very careful that your court and the Supreme Court are fully advised with all the research of the federal issues," he told members of the Guam Bar Association.

Kennedy also said that oral argument among justices is normally one-hour short. He describes it as the poetry of the law.

The justice, who spends his summer teaching international and American law at the University of Salzburg in Austria, encouraged Guam Bar members to reach out for young professionals and encourage students to go to law school.

"Reach for the young people. Student presence is very refreshing. Encourage them to work with your offices. They can be good interns," he said.

He also encouraged the Guam Judiciary to establish "Inns of Court" to solidify the court and provide continuing legal and ethical training for law practitioners.

"I hope that you include the CNMI, and you respect the adversary and respect your system," he told local lawyers.

Kennedy’s almost an hour speech in Hilton Hotel provided an inspiration to hundreds of Guam Bar and Guam Judiciary members who took a recess from court hearings to listen to the visiting justice’s address.

They enjoyed Kennedy’s humor, as he willingly shared some of his memorable experiences in his legal profession.

Sen. Bob Klitzkie, R-Yigo, described Kennedy’s speech as "good speech with right amount of humor."

Superior Court Judge Steven Unpingco said Kennedy’s speech was "absolutely inspiring."

"You can tell that he is a learned jurist but more importantly, he is also a teacher. He always has young students in mind. Quite frankly, he is always an inspirational teacher. I thank him for coming this far," Unpingco said.

He said he was excited to see Kennedy again after having him in the University of Guam Field house in 1994

Atty. Frederick Horecky of Horecky & Associates said he was very impressed with Kennedy.

"Aside from the brilliance and humanity, he makes a big deal on the importance of educating young legal enthusiasts, making sure that the passing of the legal tradition is properly preserved," he said.

U.S. Attorney Lenny Rapadas expressed his gratitude to the visiting U.S. Supreme Court justice.

"When I was in Huntington Beach about a month ago, the chief justice had said that it’s important that justices make their way out to different areas. This is good. We are very pleased to have him back on Guam," Rapadas told Variety.

Guam Bar Association president Rodney Jacob said Kennedy’s visit is significant because it recognizes the importance of the Guam Bar and the Guam Judiciary to the U.S. judiciary.

"It recognizes and it supports that Guam and the CNMI are every bit important in the eyes of the law in any state of the country and I am very honored. It’s nice that Justice Kennedy is here to remind us that Guam has a very sophisticated bar," Jacob added.

Guam Supreme Court Chief Justice F. Philip Carbullido expressed elation with the big attendance in the event. He also expressed appreciation to the visiting justice whom he said he will invite again soon.

"Justice Kennedy’s words are very inspiring. He put in perspective the work in the Supreme Court. I think not too many people understand that the Supreme Court has a different structure and how they operate. The insights on how they operate are very interesting to all of us. We are extremely thrilled that he could share a short time with us and we are very appreciative of that. He wants to come back soon so we want him to come back," Carbullido said.

August 8, 2006

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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