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Click to read Bernice Pauahi Bishop's VisionDoe vs. Kamehameha Schools plaintiffs cannot proceed anonymously

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling affirms lower court

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today issued a ruling unanimously affirming that four students who challenged Kamehameha Schools admissions policy cannot proceed under pseudonyms.

The plaintiffs were seeking to reverse decisions in U.S. district Court in 2008 and 2009 denying their motion to proceed anonymously with their lawsuit against Kamehameha Schools. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren ruled against the plaintiffs in October 2008, and Federal District Judge Michael Seabright affirmed the ruling and subsequently dismissed their case with prejudice in March 2009. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel heard arguments on this case on October 13, 2009, and that court’s 3-0 ruling was posted this morning.

“We are gratified that the U.S. 9th Circuit Court affirmed the rulings of the district court in this case,” said Kamehameha Schools CEO Dee Jay Mailer. “We have believed from the outset that, if this case were to proceed, it should do so as openly and honestly as possible. We understand that these plaintiffs may appeal this decision further, but we are heartened by the consistent, unanimous and affirming legal determinations that have been made so far. Our legal team has done a great job of moving this case through the courts, and that has allowed the rest of our organization to stay focused on fulfilling Kamehameha’s mission.”

Circuit Judge Robert R. Beezer wrote on behalf of the 3-judge panel, "Few tenets of the United States justice system rank above the conflicting principles presented in this case: the transparency and openness of this nation’s court proceedings and the ability of private individuals to seek redress in the courts without fear for their safety.... After carefully considering the issue, the magistrate judge and district judge decided that the prejudice to the defendants and the public’s interest in open courts outweigh plaintiffs’ fears of harm.... We affirm.”

Kamehameha Schools is a private, educational, charitable trust founded and endowed by the legacy of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Kamehameha Schools operates a statewide educational system enrolling more than 6,900 students of Hawaiian ancestry at K-12 campuses on O'ahu, Maui and Hawai'i and 31 preschool sites statewide. Approximately 37,500 additional learners are served each year through a range of other Kamehameha Schools’ outreach programs, community collaborations and financial aid opportunities in Hawai'i and across the continental United States.