FSM Supreme Court is pleased to announce that 2020 National Law Day was a success

FSM Supreme Court

The world pandemic in 2020 proved especially challenging for the FSM Supreme Court.   Historically, July 12th of each year is a day when the FSM honors Law Day, which is when high school teams from around the FSM meet in one of the four FSM states and engage in debates of legal significance.  In 2020, the National Law Day debate was:

Be it resolved that the Federated States of Micronesia file a claim with the International Court of Justice against the more developed nations, who are host to large multi-national corporations, which have contributed heavily to global warming and climate change, seeking redress and relief including monetary damages.

On July 12, 2020, however, no one in the FSM was allowed to travel.  Thus, it appeared that the 2020 National Law Day debates might not happen.  This would have broken a nearly 25 year history of holding the National Law Day debates.  The FSM Supreme Court, however, forged ahead and held the 2020 National Law Day debates using virtual-meeting technology on September 1, 2020. 

Over the years the FSM Supreme Court has invested in technology improvements at each of its facilities in Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap.  The issues that the FSM faced with the corona virus pandemic in 2020 proved that these strategic advances in upgrading the Court’s physical facilities and internet technology paid off.   Indeed, the Court held virtual law day debates on September 1, 2020.  Teams from Chuuk, Pohnpei and Yap participated in the debates from the FSM Court facility in each of these respective staters.   Each of the students participating in the debates received a $2,000 scholarship and a laptop computer for their roles in this significant national event.  

For the 2020 Law Day debates, Yap Catholic High School placed first, followed by Pohnpei’s Seventh Day Adventist High School in second place, Pohnpei’ Calvary Christian Academy n third place and Xavier High School in fourth place. 

For 2021, the FSM Supreme Court is preparing to host the National Law Day debates in Chuuk on July 12, 2021.  The debates will either be in person, with all the participating high school teams traveling to Chuuk to debate, or virtually, with each high school team remaining in its home state and appearing via video conference from the Supreme Court’s facility in that team’s state.  The investments that have been made over time to the Court’s infrastructure now provide the Court with flexibility to adapt to the pandemic-related travel restrictions that are established by the executive and legislative branches of government. In fact, the Court has begun using this virtual technology to host video conferences in connection with the adjudication of cases, including both civil and criminal trial court cases, as well as appellate court matters.     

In the end, even the world pandemic did not stop the Court from continuing to honor its long history of celebrating National Law Day.  Indeed, the 2021 National Law Day topic is: 

Be it resolved that with regard to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the FSM Congress shall enact legislation requiring all citizens and residents of the FSM to undergo testing, get vaccinated and/or wear a mask in public, and for every person entering the FSM to complete quarantine upon entry.

Regardless of the status of the world pandemic, the Court is prepared to host debate teams from all across the FSM on July 12, 2021.  Congratulations to the 2020 debate teams, and for 2021, may the best team win!   

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