On Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, the Commonwealth Judiciary conducted the fifth “Law and the Freshman Legislator” seminar, a biennial seminar specifically designed for incoming legislators. The half-day program included a condensed course on the Covenant and CNMI Constitution, an overview of the judiciary process, and an opportunity for interactive dialogue between first-time representatives and members of the Judiciary.
Eight of the nine newly elected legislators attended this year's event: representatives-elect Antonio R. Agulto, Anthony T. Benavente, Roman C. Benavente, Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero, Christopher D. Leon Guerrero, John Paul P. Sablan, Mariano Taitano, and Ralph N. Yumul. Richard B. Seman could not attend due to transportation limitations from Rota. Fifty-three legislators have now participated in the program since its inception in 2004 and all have highly recommended that the program continue.
The seminar agenda consisted of four sessions covering: (1) the Covenant, the United States Constitution, and the NMI Constitution; (2) the role of the courts; (3) statutory interpretation; and (4) the basics of legal research. Presenters included Chief Justice Alexandro C. Castro, Associate Justice John A. Manglona, Associate Judge David A. Wiseman, Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo, Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona of the U.S. District Court for the NMI, and Heather L. Kennedy, executive director of the Commonwealth Law Revision Commission.
The Northern Mariana Islands Historic Society sponsored a roundtable discussion and luncheon held after the formal presentations. This provided the new legislators with the opportunity to interact in a question-and-answer dialogue with the justices and judges. (NMI Judiciary)