The late former Chief Justice Ronald T. Y. Moon, who led the Hawai‘i Supreme Court for 17 years, was honored with a special session at the Supreme Court Courtroom on August 8, 2022.
Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald called the session to order and members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I paid tribute to Chief Justice Moon, who had been elevated to Knighthood of the Royal Order in 2011. Family, friends and dignitaries shared their fond memories of “CJ Moon,” while hundreds of others watched the live streamed event via the Judiciary’s YouTube channel.
In addition to Chief Justice Recktenwald, the speakers included Judge Michael F. Broderick (ret.); former Gov. John D. Waihee III; First Circuit District Court Judge Karin L. Holma, CJ Moon’s former law clerk; former Chair of the Hawaii Board of Bar Examiners Robert A. Chong; President of the Hawaii State Trial Judges Association Judge Summer M.M. Kupau-Odo; Vice President of the Hawaii State Bar Association Jesse K. Souki; Gov. David. Y. Ige; Dr. Scott D.M. Moon, son of CJ Moon.
The speakers praised CJ Moon for his unwavering commitment to justice for all, a principle that guided him on the bench and his deep, genuine aloha for people. As the leader of the third branch of government for more than 17 years, Chief Justice Moon focused on enhancing the administration of justice, increasing access to the courts, preserving the independence of the judiciary, and educating the public about their justice system. His dedication to these goals
continues to have a positive impact on the people of Hawai‘i.
CJ Moon served as trial judge for eight years before being elevated to the Hawai‘i Supreme Court on March 9, 1990 as an associate justice. On March 31, 1993, he was sworn-in as the 17th chief justice of Hawai‘i — the 4th chief justice since statehood — and the first Korean-American to become chief justice of any supreme court in the nation. In 2003, CJ Moon was retained to serve a second term of office. He retired from the Judiciary on September 1, 2010 and passed away on July 4, 2022 at age 81.
Last year, the American Judicature Society honored this visionary leader with a Herbert Harley Award for his outstanding contributions to advance the administration of justice. For a video with interviews with former Gov. John Waihee, attorney Bert Kobayashi, and current Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, who reminisced about Chief Justice Moon and his contributions, click here.