Derek Kauanoe, JD 2008

Moot Court

This year’s Native American Moot Court (NAMC) team brought home more awards than any other law school at the competition, which was held at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

Significant changes were made to the Native American Moot Court team this year. First, an unprecedented number of law students joined the team. Returning members, Moanikeala Crowell, Scott Hovey, Derek Kauanoe (captain), Greg Kimo Schlais and Anosh Yaqoob welcomed new team members Edward Hu, Ann Kanoelehua Otteman, Rafael Renteria, Christopher Santos, Terrence Thornburgh and Richard Wallsgrove for a total of 11 team members. Second, in addition to having alumni and professors serve as practice judges in preparation for oral arguments, this year, the team successfully recruited the assistance of three federal court judges: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Clifton; Federal District Court Judge David Ezra; and Federal District Court Judge Michael Seabright. Former tribal judge Colin Kippen and retired state court judge Melvin Soong also assisted with judging. Members of the Native Hawaiian Bar Association also participated as practice judges and made significant contributions to the team.

All of this preparation proved useful as Hawai‘i dominated the competition and awards banquet in all three categories. Hawai‘i’s NAMC won First Place in the Best Brief category (Moani Crowell and Greg Schlais); First Place in the Best Oralist Category (Anosh Yaqoob); Third Place in the Best Advocates category (Scott Hovey and Anosh Yaqoob); and Second Place in the Best Advocates category (Edward Hu and Derek Kauanoe).

Edward and Derek’s team was one of two in the final round. Final round judges included Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Betty Fletcher and William Canby. Navajo Supreme Court Chief Justice Herb Yazzie served as the Chief Judge for the final round.

Federal Bar Conference/Annual National Native American Law Students Association meeting

Native American Moot Court members Moani Crowell, Scott Hovey, Edward Hu, Derek Kauanoe and Anosh Yaqoob had the privilege of attending the annual Federal Bar Association’s annual Indian Law Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico from April 9-12, 2008. UH Law Visiting Assistant Professor Carl Christensen also attended.

One highlight of the conference was a presentation by Chadwick Corntassel Smith, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief, on the Cherokee Freedman issue – the complicated and continuing dispute over the rights and status of the descendants of the Cherokee Freedmen, former Black slaves and Black spouses of Cherokees, and whether they should be citizens of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Smith clarified what he called misinformation or “myths” about the Cherokee Nation’s decisions regarding Cherokee Freedmen. He explained that many are under the impression that the Cherokee Nation is disallowing all Black Cherokee Freedmen to remain a part of the Cherokee Nation. Instead, he explained, the Cherokee Nation voted that only people with Cherokee blood, regardless of their other racial or ethnic make-up, are citizens of the Nation.