Shea Hartig wins AG’s Cup

SHEA Kennedy Hartig,  a sophomore at Saipan International School, won the 34th Annual Attorney General’s speech competition at Fiesta Resort & Spa on Friday.

Mount Carmel School senior Kelvin Diaz Cepeda finished second while Marianas High School junior Kelvin Wolf was third.

This year’s topic was the Insular Cases Doctrine which allowed the U.S. Congress to choose which portions of the U.S. Constitution apply to unincorporated territories, including the CNMI.

“For over a hundred years,” Hartig said in her speech, “the Insular Cases have created a standard under which certain constitutional requirements are applied to the people of US territories, while others are not. Critics of the doctrine view it as the last remnant of colonialism, seeing it as an unequal representation of the territories based on race, or a tool of imperial constitutionalism.”

In reality she added, these cases are an opportunity to set a precedent and create a framework that will prioritize and protect indigenous traditions, values and culture from the imposition of federalism and foreign values.

She said the Insular Cases “wisely recognize that culture and tradition must be considered in establishing a working legal framework.”

She added,  “If the United States is to be truly a government of the people by the people, for the people, that shall not perish from this earth, as President Lincoln resolved in 1863, then it must be able to recognize the culture, traditions and wishes of the people who fly its flag.”

In an interview, Hartig, who placed 2nd in last year’s AG’s Cup competition, said the issue this year was more difficult and involved more research.

Hartig thanked her parents, brother and friends for their support. Her mother is District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather Kennedy and her father is Chief Public Defender Douglas Hartig who is also her coach.

Although she worked hard preparing for the competition, winning first prize was still unexpected, Shea Hartig said.

“Nobody really expects to win. You just put in the hard work and hope that it pays off.”

She said preparing for the competition involved a lot of stressful nights with her father-coach, including “staring at the ceiling for hours on end until something hits you.”

When asked if she will follow in his parents’ footsteps, she replied: “The speaking is something that I like to do, but the paperwork that comes with being a lawyer and all of those long nights may not be for me.”

Mount Carmel School senior Kelvin Diaz Cepeda, who won 2nd prize, advocated a new kind of jurisprudence for the CNMI.

“We need a new kind of justice — a restorative form of justice that not only brings the community closer but avoids singling out anyone else. It should be more about the community and less about the individual.”

Marianas High School junior Kelvin Wolf, who placed 3rd, said the Insular Cases are no longer relevant and should be overturned.

The other participants this year were Min Ju Kang, junior, Marianas Baptist Academy; Louis Ao Feng Zheng, sophomore, Grace Christian Academy; Ella Eusebio, senior, Kagman High School; John Robert Tam, senior, Eucon International School; and Stephen Carino, senior, Saipan Sothern High School who was awarded honorable mention.

This year’s panel of judges included AG Edward Manibusan, CNMI Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexandro C. Castro, Deputy AG Lilian S. Ada, CNMI Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja, CNMI Bar Association president Charles Brasington, and former AGs Matthew Gregory, Gil Birnbrich, Rexford Kosack, Pamela Brown and Herb D. Soll.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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